Upon receiving a call from his lonely colleague Bethan who informs him of her having a child with him, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) – a highly successful construction manager and a good father – resolves to defy the situation gallantly and sets off for the hospital in London where his haplessly acquainted co-worker is to give birth to his child. Abandoning the construction site where his project is about to be completed and disregarding his professional and family duties, he is coerced into revealing the truth to his spouse while driving his car and stands in for criticism of his supervisors in Chicago…
“Locke is a revelatory ensemble crackling with titillation”
Steven Knight’s Locke is a sagaciously conducted drama fraught with a slick concept as well as a conspicuously extraordinary performance delivered by ever-fantastic Tom Hardy. Whereas the premise might appear somewhat humdrum and insufficiently unique to constitute a satisfying viewing experience, the film owes its impetus precisely to its very palpability, which infuses into the content a remarkable portion of emotionality and suspense, its claustrophobic ambience and the spry writing by Steven Knight who etches the central character in an immensely dexterous manner and deftly grounds the topic. The motion picture seems to almost accidentally choose one of the stories eddying in the ether forasmuch as the camera initially depicts a city by night, prior to introducing us to the protagonist preparing himself for the difficult venture. Ivan Locke, masterfully impersonated by Tom Hardy, is a fulfilled, self-made man, yet likewise an exceedingly complex persona endeavouring to lead his life in a moral way. His insistence on being a righteous man partially issues from the fact that he is seemingly an illegitimate infant of an irresponsible drunkard who deserted him at the early age. Whilst being perched in front of the wheel of his BMW, apart from his weariness, Ivan Locke interminably grapples with his inner demons and the persecuting spirit of his loathsome parent whom he appears to accost on a couple of occasions as though his father draped himself at the back seat of his car. His obsession about being a good man issues from his contempt for his father who was unable to cope with everyday life. Therefore, one is not dealing here with a cardboard-dimensional directional factor, a super hero bereft of credibility, but a simple human possessing motives for the way he acts and deprived of artificiality so prevalent in many a flick.
Besides that, he keeps talking on his in-car phone, striving to preserve the things in equilibrium, but however diligently he attempts, everything steadily crumbles and he becomes more and more derelict in the midst of his life’s debris. Despite his best intentions and his non-counterfeit will to solve all quandaries in the possibly best fashion, he is nonetheless castigated. All in all, the movie does not solely rely on its script and here Mr Knight’s great narrative forte looms from the background, tinging the celluloid with even more realism. Being absolutely resolute in the creational progress, the director allows the contours of the main character to acquire sharpness. Mr Knight’s frugal, but excellent mise-en-scene and Hardy’s spellbinding acting synergistically create an uncanny slice of life drama which maintains its propulsive force till the last second of its running time. Ultimately, Locke is a revelatory ensemble crackling with titillation and exposing how much superfluity other films contain and how little one needs to helm a genuinely gratifying flick.
Tom Hardy is the authentic engine of this movie and owing to his captivating and intense performance, the pic accomplishes a very high level of filmmaking. Mr Hardy is never less than utterly convincing in the role of Ivan Locke who perpetually endeavours to subjugate his apprehension and anxiety in the face of plight. Upon watching this appealing drama, I hanker for more motion pictures like this with Mr Hardy, for Locke enables him to show his knack for playing demanding parts and his impersonation here is incessantly acute and brilliant.
The ear-pleasing soundtrack by Dickon Hinchliffe is somewhat lulling, but never contradictory in its tone to the atmosphere of the film whose music is not one of its greatest assets anyway. Whilst everything functions in the work as it is supposed to, one shall not heed the aspect too much, as the track is at a loss for something which could endow it with a modicum of idiosyncrasy. The frugal cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos voluminously displays the orange hues of illumination skirting the motorway which the protagonist moves on. What is also worth noting is how buoyantly as well as leisurely the sequences blur from one into another, deliberately shifting, sporadically to the extension of convergence.
Although Locke indubitably succeeds in yielding a highly energising tale seasoned with moral dilemma and intrinsic psychological combat, a thriller or your usual nail-biter it is not. Labelling the opus in the aforementioned manner is nothing but a way of advertising. It would be far more pertinent to define this prepossessing effort a gripping character study or a foray into a mind of an ordinary citizen whose life is on the brink of private and professional decomposition. Those who wish to brainwash themselves with something unsophisticated are bound to be disillusioned by this rather sparing pic, but Locke is likely to ingratiate itself with cinephiles rummaging for a grave film abounding in wits and psychological shrewdness. This is modern filmmaking at its best.
Verdict: 8/10 stars – excellent