Film Review – Locke
Tom Hardy has become a sought after actor within the past few years. Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises, and Inception have cemented his talent for taking on roles totally different and unexpected than the next. His role in Locke is no different.
Locke is the story of one man, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), whose life becomes very complicated over a two hour drive on the highway. He makes a decision to go in one direction, changing the course of his life and has repercussions that would not be as bad if he decided to go to turn left instead of right. Locke works in construction, has a family, and has also made a mistake. This mistake is something Locke is trying to right or at least turn it into a positive. The main influence for making the decision to go towards his mistake is to not be like his father, a man who abandoned him and has since passed.
The film is only Locke in his BMW driving with his phone connected to his Bluetooth. He receives and makes a series of phone calls during the film that explain his mistake, his work, and his family life. He also has heated discussions with his father who Locke imagines to be sitting in the backseat. There is nothing else, so it relies heavily on the screenplay by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things) and Tom Hardy’s acting to make it a film that you are willing to see for nothing else other than those two reasons.
Yes, Tom Hardy is great as Ivan Locke. If he wasn’t, the film would probably never have seen the light of day. His accent is the first thing you will notice about his performance. It is professor-like English with annunciations, not normal Tom Hardy speak. His interactions with those on the other side of the line also make or break his performance. Ruth Wilson, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, and Bill Milner all play a role in how Hardy reacts to each phone call. I hope the calls were done live and not after. Hearing something read off a screenplay to you, rather than an actor in the moment, would be much more fulfilling as an actor. But if this did not happen, it would only be another testament to the abilities of Tom Hardy.
Because this is such a simple film in its structure and execution, it is not something easily describable. I would be remiss if I were to mention any of the details what Locke’s mistake is or why his life gets unbelievably complicated because of one decision. It is an immersive film that demands your full attention. My expectations for the film let me down as I waited for something bad to happen or for the suspense to be turned up a notch. It never happened. Had I not had the expectations, I would have enjoyed it more, but waiting for something to happen that never does is a letdown. It was my own pre-conceived notions about Locke that did the film in for me.
While Locke is a fine example of how fantastic an actor Tom Hardy is, it may lose some of its audience along the way. It can become a bit tedious. However, Locke is an example of how straightforward a film can be amongst all the other films being released. It never loses its focus on its main character or the struggles he goes through in a two hour drive. Locke is determined to stay true, and that he does.
Also, be sure to check out our interview with writer/director Steven Knight.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsBDYAYnQb0&w=560&h=315]