Tom Hardy stars in this claustrophobic drama, taking place solely in the confines of his BMW. Using only his acting chops and a bluetooth connected phone as a prop, this becomes more than a casual drive down the M6. We are first introduced to Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) clearly at a crossroads, deciding to run away from his problems or tackling them head on. The film consists of the unraveling of his life during one drive to London as he attempts to patch it together with only his mobile device as his tool. It’s a film we can all relate to, as we all know too well that mistakes have consequences.
This film instantly reminded me of Buried (Ryan Reynolds) and Grand Piano (Elijah Wood), as both films take place in one location and are more or less shot in real time. The problem with these films is trying to keep the audience engrossed despite it being shot in one boring location. Buried for me is a perfect example of a film that succeeds in being just as thrilling as any blockbuster I’ve ever seen, and that took place in a wooden box. Locke does it’s best to keep the interiors of Tom Hardy’s BMW interesting and engaging, using the reflections of street lights and passing cars to create a frame worth looking at. What really overpowers the screen though is Tom Hardy’s unworldly ability to project his emotions onto the audience. You can sense his frustration, sadness and determination to make what would seem like an impossible feat repairable. It takes some kind of actor with the ability to be on screen alone for the entirety of the film and make it as entertaining and suspenseful as this.
The script is what makes the film so riveting, and with award winning screenwriter Steven Knight in the driving seat making his vision come to life, there was no way his story was going to fall flat. Especially after coming off Hummingbird, his directorial debut which didn’t go down as well as he would have hoped. Locke not only showcases his brilliant talent for screenwriting once again but redeems his ability as a director. I have to admit that there could have been more room for creativity as some of the shots started to feel repetitive, but thankfully Tom Hardy’s dynamic performance prevents the film from becoming tiresome aesthetically.
The story is incredibly relatable which is ultimately why it’s so compelling. Ivan Locke is clearly not a guy to say sorry, which becomes clear as the film progresses. He instead is a man who steps up and fixes his problems with actions instead of meaningless words. He’s always looking for “the next step” towards repairing said problems, choosing practicality over emotions. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have his moments of cathartic swearing, we all need to do that every now and again. But we soon find out that his determination to do the right thing and put 100% into each problem stems from a deeper childhood trauma, which he clearly carries around with him. We realize that one moment of wrong choices can unravel a persons life and the others around them but it doesn’t mean it’s all over.
Locke may not be every ones cup of tea as it lacks physical thrills but for anyone looking for emotional thrills, Locke will be right up your ally. Tom Hardy’s performance alone should be enough of an incentive to see this film, if not then at least check it out for the love of nice looking beards.