Locke film review: Tom Hardy goes for a drive

April 28, 2014, Article by Beau Merchant in Film & TV, Reviews

Locke is a 90 minute car journey on the M6, with just one actor on screen for the duration making a series of phone calls. Oh, and half of the conversations are about concrete. Sold? I’m guessing probably not. You’ll be surprised to hear then that Locke is one of the most gripping, absorbing and unique cinema experiences you’ll have this year. It’s best to go in knowing as little as possible, so I’ll be brief on details. Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction worker who, on the eve of the biggest job of his career, makes a decision that will change the course of his night (and life) forever. For the next hour and a half we are in Locke’s car, experiencing every hands-free phone call, bump in the road and changing of lane with him. There are no car chases or explosions. No bad guys making threats or demands. The tension and dread all come from the excellent screenplay by writer/director Steven Knight and of course the monumental performance of Tom Hardy. This is Hardy’s film. His Locke is the calm and gentle Welshman, a bread and butter family man with his ‘Help for Heroes’ tax disc holder and the charity’s blue and red band around his wrist perhaps hinting at a military past. Whilst others on the end of the phone are losing their composure and temper it is Locke who keeps it together. You hang on his every word, you want everything to work out for him and as the film ends you’ll feel like you could spend another hour in his company. Hopefully we’ll see Hardy in similar roles now. It’s beautifully shot, with the lights from the M6 slowly dissolving in over the action and the reflections of other cars on the windows giving the film a dream-like feel. As a kid I always felt removed from reality on long motorway night journeys and Knight captures those feelings perfectly with his framing and direction. The excellent and haunting score by Dickon Hinchliffe (founding member of the Tindersticks) should also be applauded. This is satisfying, fresh and brave film making from the UK. Superb. Locke is out in cinemas now. Beau 8 / 10