Locke

Howard reviews Locke movie directed by Steven Knight and says It is a short film, but so very different that it is absolutely worth a visit to the cinema.

Cert (UK): 15

Runtime: 106 mins

Director: Steven Knight

Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Coleman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, Bill Miller

Rating  ****

Its not often Watford makes it into the movies, even North Watford makes an appearance in this very unusual experimental film, in which only one of the cast makes a visual appearance.

Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction engineer, who embarks on a two hour drive from Birmingham to London in his BMW on a midweek night. Ivan is Welsh, has a beard, wears a thick woolly jumper and is married with two football mad sons. During the journey he spends long periods receiving and making telephone calls, although we never see any of the people he speaks with and many of the conversations are about pouring cement, something I knew very little about, but now I feel like an expert, as Locke directs his assistant through a plethora of challenges, However, the beauty of this film is that Hardy is playing an average guy suddenly confronted with some life changing circumstances that require him to draw on all his experience and skill whilst managing huge emotional conflict.

Ivan appears to have made one serious mistake in his life, which was spending the night with a previous lonely work colleague Bethan (Olivia Colman), who becomes pregnant and has gone into early labour. As a consequence of his past, he has vowed to do the right thing which is to be present at the birth, despite the risk to his marriage with Katrina (Ruth Wilson). To complicate matters further he has “the largest concrete pour in Europe” to manage the following day.

As Ivan heads towards the hospital he is compelled to make the call that will potentially sends his life in to freefall and from that moment he is left receiving and making calls to his boss, work colleagues, Katrina, his sons, Bethan, the hospital and various other parties as he attempts to hold things together.

Ivan exudes a confidence as he speaks in low Welsh tones, but it’s clear that as events unravel they are gradually having a destructive influence upon him. Hardy is magnificent in the role, totally engrossing and his best performance since Bronson. The screenplay was written in a week and filmed in two on the M6 and M1, which if you are familiar with these stretches of road will feel all very familiar. The Director Steven Knight also wrote and created the highly acclaimed BBC2 series Peaky Blinders.

Normally one might wait to see a film shot almost entirely in a car for the small screen, but this must be seen at the cinema, where the night drive becomes even more compelling in the dark, as does the fragmentation of Locke’s life in a short space of time.

The marketing of the film suggests it is a thriller, its not, it is tale about nothing very much delivered brilliantly by both Stephen Knight and Tom Hardy in a manner that makes you care about what is going on, whilst creating mental images of those characters the drama is affecting but who you never see. It is a short film, but so very different that it is absolutely worth a visit to the cinema and keep a watch out for Watford.

Written by Howard Groves

(Locke is available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray)