UK Release: April 18th 2014
From the talented Stephen Knight comes ‘LOCKE’ a classic tale of a construction worker Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) driving one night from Birmingham to London, which along the way he deals (through hands free telephone calls) deep personal and professional manners. I have purposely said nothing more other than that as ‘Locke’ is a film just to discover as the emotional journey it takes you down is like nothing else.
With a terrific (and arguably career best) performance by Tom Hardy who holds the film as the only physical character on and screen (but sat down for most of the film in a car) this is a very well realised piece of film making. The idea of one man in one place scenario has been recently done with 2010’s ‘Buried’ (I film which I personally liked), however I can certainly understand where criticism of that fact that instead of having to watch it – you could just listen to it certainly does have a solid point. The thing with ‘Locke’ though is the fact that A) you get an impression with what makes Ivan Locke tick and what he reacts to as a character and B) the strength of Tom Hardy’s performance which you can help but just look at on screen as the emotional range (pretty much in real time) is incredible, it is indeed a character piece and it is something which the film holds very proud off.
Haris Zambarloukos cinematography brings a certain neon light feel to the motorway and how the lights reflect off the car, and Dickon Hinchliffe brings a well homed score to the proceedings as well. Both of these guys bring an elegant ore to the film – which can only be appreciated in a small absorbing cinema screen. It is also nice to see Olivia Coleman (voice only) not actually getting abused for once – leaving it to more Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott (both down the phone). There is a few small issues – at first I found it a little hard to adjust to Tom Hardy’s Welsh accent, some of the telephone call conversations do come off at times a little unconvincing and it interesting to see how Knight has worked around technical logistics like how Ivan Locke is driving a BMW 4-BY-4 to compensate the fact that when shooting Tom Hardy was in a car strapped into a camera rig, on a back of a truck. As it is though, this is certainly an experience and one which with little to know about it going in will bring you the best results. This certainly redeems Knight of his directorial debut disaster of ‘Hummingbird’ and is something which (as they have done) the BFI can be proud to support. A brilliant treat, and one which needs to be seen in a small darkened cinema.