Release: Friday, April 25, 2014 (limited)


What’s harder to reconcile — the uncertainty and doubt associated with what the future may or may not hold for you, or acknowledging the truth of what’s happened in your past?

If you don’t find yourself moved by this kind of prying, existential question, a question that you can almost feel digging fingernails into your psyche as this simple narrative unfolds, there’s probably not a great deal something like Steven Knight’s brilliantly conservative Locke can offer you.

For anyone who does find themselves so moved, the film offers even less in the way of comfort. Emotionally hard-hitting and complex, this is a film that mirrors reality so well it’s actually more impressive that any of this is scripted. Presented as something of a road trip adventure infused with a touch of film noir, Locke is entirely caught up in the here-and-now, realizing what’s most important should be the thing that’s made most readily available to the viewer, and has little time or interest in distracting with other subplots or storylines. Indeed, what we get is Hardy’s face, a hands-free cell phone and a beautiful BMW (finally, product placement that isn’t obnoxious) as the key ingredients responsible for doling out the drama.

Tom Hardy plays an esteemed construction foreman who is seen at the film’s open leaving a work site for the evening, knocking wet concrete from his boots before getting into his car and driving away. For the remainder of the film this is where both he and the audience shall be confined — a gauntlet on wheels that comes to spawn a multitude of situations and conversations, all of which are not only believable, but also inconceivable. As the drive continues, Locke’s situation perpetually worsens and in ways that are entirely too convincing, with each successive phone call devolving into another nightmarish battle.

That the film is primarily set in the driver’s seat of a four-door sedan should be enough to make for a compelling indie film reel, but that’s not where the film excels the most. Though this intimacy certainly helps elevate the film, it’s the work that Hardy turns in that separates Locke from other limited-setting movies, and by several mile markers at that.

Hardy is a one-man show, an artist so in the moment time almost seems to come to a stand-still. He imbues his character with the perfect sampling of each human emotion that invariably would surface during a car ride of this magnitude, or during any number of stressful — granted, less intricate and bizarre — situations for that matter. Sure, driving may be the only activity the man takes part in here, but the circumstances surrounding what he’s doing have a kind of gravity that will put a lump in your throat.

Locke is, in a word, defiant, and the more that’s left unsaid about it, the better. Suffice it to say, though, expect a story which refuses to bend to convention, as Ivan refuses to lose sight of his ultimate goal. We, the ever curious — bordering on frustrated — third-party simply must sit perched on the edge of our seats, nervous, as we anticipate each precious little detail as they come spilling forward, either from Hardy’s mouth or from the speakers on the dashboard. The genius in this film is that frustration mounts but it never overwhelms, and that frustration is not the end game. It’s only part of the experience. And there are so many different parts.

An existential drama disguised as a road trip movie, Locke is quite simply one of the most inventive and riveting films you will see this, or any other year. There won’t be many things quite like it.


5-0Recommendation: An exemplary indie film that is sure to satisfy the art house crowd and Tom Hardy fans in equal measure. See it for a much more nuanced Hardy performance — it’s really quite something comparing this role to his Bane, or something like Charles Bronson. But see it for far more fundamental reasons also: if you appreciate deeply human stories, Locke is one you cannot afford to miss.

Rated: R

Running Time: 84 mins.

Quoted: “Gareth, with all due respect: f**k Chicago.”

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

27 thoughts on “Locke

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  3. We’re definitely on the same page here mate. Saw on my review that you gave it top marks so wanted to come see what you thought and I can’t disagree! Hardy is just wonderful, you really can’t fault the decisions he’s making at the moment.


  4. I have been a dreadfully bad follower lately–for you and all the fine people of WordPress! I solemnly swear that I will always catch up. 🙂 I have yet to see a negative review of this one. Sadly, it’s not available at any of my local theaters…but I’ll have to give it a rental! Good review!


    • Hey, everyone needs a break I think. For me it’s been the heat around here, I work and get home and am exhausted and can’t really focus on reading a lot of stuff. And then I get behind and get even more unmotivated hahah. But it’s all good. Breaks are good. Makes the coming back to writing even more fun. This has been my experience recently. 🙂


  5. Wow, high praise! I’m really looking forward to watching this one now. Nicely done as usual, Tom!


    • Thanks V. It’s all about Tom Hardy here, he’s phenomenal. In fact, I’m not sure if he’s ever been this good. And you know me, that’s saying quite something! I look forward to hearing your thoughts if you get to it!


      • I’m a Hardy fan myself so I most definitely will get to it at some stage. I think he’s one of those “maturing with age” types of talents. ;D


  6. Great review Tom. I thought you were suffering some writers block? On evidence, you’re over it, man. Can’t wait to catch this one. It’s sounds brilliant.


    • I have man! Oh it’s been so bad, I would have possibly had this up almost a week ago but it wasn’t to be. Thankfully, something has come around. 🙂 I’m glad I’ve been able to spread the good word, because this one deserves a lot of love. It’s fantastic.


    • 🙂 Thanks kindly Mikey!!!! I would like to say that the 8/8 is a universal score, but I’ve seen some who have walked away less impressed, though it is rare with this one. Let me know what you think when you do get a chance to catch it. I found it incredibly refreshing and quite a deep film for being just stuck in a car for 90 minutes.

      Basically, if this is what Phonebooth is like, only on wheels, I feel pretty compelled to quit ignoring that thing now/!


    • “A simplified spectacle” — well said Adam. You’re right. It’s a microcosm of our daily lives; the ups and most importantly the downs. The very, very, very downs.

      I was in love with this from start to finish. Even though the conclusion took me by surprise initially, I came to appreciate it later. A true great one. Good to know you feel the same.


  7. Kind of reminds me of the Ryan Reynolds movie Buried. It all took place underground in one space. Fascinating film. Very different.


    • You know, I heard a little bit about it when it came out but I don’t know why I didn’t get to seeing Buried. Would you put it in the same class as this? The acting on the part of Hardy is simply magnificent and I just don’t see Reynolds approaching anywhere near this kind of commitment level.

      But you bringing the title up is enough to make me want to give it a look-see soon.


    • It’s one of the more interesting little stories I’ve had the pleasure of coming across recently, that’s for sure. I highly, HIGHLY recommend (obviously) if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience it yet. 😀


  8. Great review! I’ve read a few rave reviews on Locke including this one, I can’t wait to see it. Too bad it’s not screening at any theatres where I’m at right now.


    • I can offer you some comfort, though: it’s well worth whatever wait you must face. It’s a very good film and deserves quite a wide release. Thanks for reading as always!!


    • Awesome! Good to be on the same page then. Locke is truly excellent, isn’t it? And fully deserving, in my opinion, of the hot-steamy-whole-pie, perfect 100% rating! 😀


    • Oh boy, I loved this Mark. Loved it. I really hope you have a similar experience but I have this feeling you just might. 😉


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