If Tom Hardy’s car was devoid of a hands free phone system, this would be one of the most boring films ever made. But it does. And the film is anything but boring. In fact, it easily qualifies as one of the best films of 2014, primarily due to the incredible performance of Tom Hardy, one that should see him become a candidate for the Oscars’ 2015 Best Actor award.
Like ‘Buried’ and ’12 Angry Men’ before it, Steven Knight’s ‘Locke’ has practically all of its runtime confined to one location, in this case the BMW driven by Ivan Locke, as he tries to keep calm whilst his life falls apart around him, all so that he can drive somewhere where he feels his presence is necessary, addressing his own issues of self-worth while cleansing himself of some serious father issues.
Of course, a movie devoid of multiple locations will live and die by two elements: Its story, and its acting. ‘Locke’ is a testament to the calibre of movie that can be achieved if both these elements are flawlessly executed. Tom Hardy has never been better than he is here, his opting for a Welsh accent making him seem almost hypnotic, a cool voice amidst the wreckage that ensues during his 1 hour and 20 minute drive from hell. Furthermore, his facial expressions tell more than a thousand lines of dialogue ever could, as glimpses appear of his increasing frustration and heartbreak at some of the words he says and hears. Touching on what he hears, the voice acting is also top-notch, as every single character communicates their personality and predicaments through their phone conversations with Locke, with Andrew Scott, Olivia Colman and Ruth Wilson the key standouts. It’s the desperation and torment in their voices, coupled with the controlled practicality of the gently voiced Locke, that make the film’s characters and conversations compelling, helping the story to be all the more captivating.
Sure, it may’ve been nice to have had a brief glimpse of the world and events that transpired once Locke exited his car, but it’s quite clear that this film was intended to be a confined yet thrilling experience, so it’s easy to understand Knight’s reluctance to divert from that, even if it does marginally sacrifice some further plot development.
Overall, Tom Hardy is spellbinding as Ivan Locke, producing the best performance of his career to date, and when combined with the flawless direction of Steven Knight, a truly mesmerising and thrilling filmgoing experience emerges, as Locke emerges to be one of the sleeper hits of 2014, making any drama you experience in future car travels seem remarkably petty by comparison.
Directed by: Steven Knight
Stars: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson
Originally published on davidzita.net – 1st January, 2015