Director: Steven Knight
Starring: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson
85 mins; Class 15; KRS

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is an ordinary bloke – happily married, two sons, a good job. One evening he leaves his office and climbs into his car to head off home. He arrives at a crossroads – literally and emotionally – when he takes the first of many phone calls which sets off a sequence of events that sees life as he knows it unravelling.

Locke is built on a gimmick. The film follows this solitary character on a drive that lasts 90 minutes – the duration of the film. But the film is so much more than the story of one man in a car travelling in real time. It is a tautly-written, emotionally-wrought drama which will fray your nerves as Locke heads to his destination.

It is often that I comment about an actor carrying a film on their shoulders and standing apart from their co-stars. And Hardy certainly does that impeccably.

Granted, he has no choice given he’s the only actor on screen – but he makes every moment count, and delivers a tour-de-force performance that has made me see him with new eyes as an extraordinary talent as, ostensibly, a fairly ordinary bloke whose life will inexorably change within an hour or so.

What causes this meltdown is difficult to describe without giving too much away. Suffice it to say that that Locke makes a decision that will hurt some people. A decision he arrives at because he is a conscientious and responsible man. He is also pragmatic, and can’t let emotion come into the equation because it’ll cloud his judgement.

A tautly-written, emotionally-wrought drama

Hardy is excellent throughout and it is hard to take your eyes off him while his lilting Welsh accent cajoles you in to listening to his every word. He displays anger, frustration, impatience, empathy and odd bits of humour.

Hardy is, as stated above, the only actor on screen, and he is given exceptional support by the voice cast who form the dramatis personae of this drama that is unfolding. This includes Ruth Wilson, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland and Bill Milner, all of whom deserve a mention.

Kudos also to director of photo-graphy Haris Zambarloukos, who creates the only set of the film – the dark, night-infused interior of Locke’s car, occasionally brightened up by passing cars’ headlights and distant city lights.

The film was written and directed by Steven Knight, who takes a brave decision not to offer any clear-cut answers.

It is up to us to imagine what is next for Ivan, and we wonder long after the credits roll what happens, so vividly has he locked himself into our minds.


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