Locke – Tom Hardy is enthralling even if he is trapped inside this rather tiresome movie



Shoebox Films (GB), IM Global (US)
85 Mins
UK Release: 18th April, 2014

Director Steven Knight
Producer Guy Heeley, Paul Webster
Screenwriter Steven Knight
Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos
Cast Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson

Full credit to Steven Knight and his innovative construction of cinema, but Locke is a clever concept that fails to give me an attentive seat aboard the exciting journey from Birmingham to London. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is an engaging character with deep motivations and Hardy delivers exceptionally, yet he alone isn’t enough to give this story a plausible pulse. Although the meditative structure of this story is enthralling, one is drawn to expecting more from it.

Locke is a successful family man with a complex inner shell. His shell is close to breaking, but Locke effectively manages to keep calm, reflective and consistently repeat, “The traffic is OK, so I’ll be there soon. The traffic is OK.” Once his mind is fixed, there is no turning back. In this case, Locke has decided it is time to amend a fatal error he committed approximately 9 months ago. Unfortunately, this decision brings with it a tsunami of catastrophic repercussions for Locke’s life and career. If the man wasn’t honest before (at least not to his wife), then he certainly makes it his promise to be so now.

The act of birth encompasses the engine of this plot. Locke is dropping everything for a woman he admits he doesn’t love and hardly knows. Why does he suddenly care? He has everything his character could possible ask for: a successful career, a happy wife and two children and a fine BMW.  He is driven by the nature and beauty of birth; a Father has to be at the birth of his child, no exceptions. However, the woman on the other end of the line (voiced by Olivia Colman) has nothing, Locke is her next of kin, her make-believe lover and the only person who can calm her down once her water has broke (the doctors even call Locke to check on his progress, wouldn’t they just get on with their vital jobs?).

On the other side of Locke’s attenuating mind is the crisis at work; he has one of the biggest concrete assemblies of his life, beginning at early hours of the next morning, which he must superintend. The big boss isn’t happy and uses plenty of bad language to get his point across before giving Locke the sack. In the name of pride, Locke continues to organise the operation with his co-worker who is on-site to do the check-ups and keep Locke’s brain from discharging. The dialogue goes into rather a bit too much detail about concrete engineering that doesn’t steer the plot to a thrilling ride for the mass audience. But then again, what other option is there to take up 85 minutes on the Bluetooth.

It is a one man, one car show. The confinements are inside the car with a few glimpses of traffic shown in wide-panning shots or through the various window reflections. It can be a stuffy ride and at times a little desperate. Knight plays with artistry through focusing various reflections to imitate Locke’s mental state, but the condition could be explored further. Despite Hardy’s engaging and intricate performance, the film fell short of my expectation and didn’t raise my heartbeat above resting (my eyes also began complaining about watching the same shot a hundred times over).

2.5/5 stars

Watch the trailer below:


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