Directed by: Steven Knight
If you’ve ever driven along the motorway for a few hours at night then you’ll probably have experienced that strange tipping point between alert euphoria and the beginning of disorientation which leads to the fall of tired eyelids.
‘Locke’ is a drama of domestic despair, as during the course of a two hour drive Ivan Locke’s whole life falls apart. During the course of the film he loses his job and his family. ‘Locke’ is also a film that is deceptively and simply executed by director and lead actor, and could be summed up in this Twitter friendly summary – Tom Hardy, speaking in a Welsh accent, uses hands free technology in a car.
There will be some debate about Hardy’s accent; it is reminiscent of Sir Anthony Hopkins, or perhaps Rob Brydon doing an impression of Anthony Hopkins. I suppose at least Hardy has a go at sounding like he was born in the valleys, but perhaps accents, upon reflection of his career to date, aren’t really his strong point. I mean we all still do Bane impressions precisely because his voice is so damn ridiculous. Hardy’s Welsh effort is certainly not the worst accent in cinema history (Hello Russell Crowe in ‘Robin Hood’) but it takes a little bit of time for the chuckle to subside after first hearing it.
I suppose the premise for ‘Locke’ is a hard sell if you take away the one man show element. Building constructor has one night stand; he is informed seven months later that the lady is going to give birth. He must decide between attending an important concrete pour or the birth of his new son. Gosh, that sounds like a gripping drama.
Somehow Hardy is able to turn the story into a thrilling race against time, where everything is at stake. He acts alone sat in the front seat of a car, taking calls from a variety of characters who we never even see – His wife, his sons, his panicked pregnant mistress, his angry boss, he Irish co-worker, a few Doctors and Nurses from a hospital in London.
Ivan Locke is a complex character; he tries to remain ice cool and in control throughout the drive. There are times when he appears almost sociopathic, at other times mad, as he talks to himself, looking deeply into the interior mirror addressing his own absent Father. There’s a naïve side to Locke, he seems almost oblivious to the damage that he has done, especially after he reveals the affair and news of his imminent son to his wife. Locke just sees the situation as another problem that can be fixed.
‘Locke’ is a lesson to aspiring filmmakers and actors about capturing minimalism. You don’t need a big budget, or star packed ensemble cast. The film is a reminder of acting as an art form. How a sparse setting and strong performance is enough to captivate an audience.