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Other // R // April 25, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]
When a film only takes place in one location, the character development and dialogue from the screenplay are instantly placed under the spotlight. The film no longer has any gimmicks that it can hide behind. Since the filmmakers are aware of this, hopefully it will lead to them creating a more captivating piece of work that has actual substance. Motion pictures such as Buried have proven that it's possible to create a thrilling feature with this form of filmmaking, as long as there is a commanding lead and a reasonably well-written script. Tom Hardy tests his own skills at this, as we spend an hour and a half with him in the driver's seat.
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a successful construction manager who is set to pour concrete the next day for one of the largest projects the company has ever done. However, his life is turned upside down when he becomes dedicated to drive his car in order to fulfill a promise to himself. Ivan's life will never be the same due to a series of phone calls from both his personal and professional contacts.
There are two types of phone calls had in Locke. The first has to do with Ivan's personal life. With each phone call, his world progressively crumbles around him. He begins by speaking with his kids, which leads to him having rather short conversations with his wife. He continues to try and calm her down, as he's forced to deliver some terrible news. The second has to do with his work. It might sound incredibly boring to hear him talk about the job of pouring concrete so often, but writer/director Steven Knight utilizes this information in a different way than one would imagine. Everything seems to be going wrong for this huge project, as he talks with his boss and Donal (Andrew Scott). Ivan assigned him to take his place as the manager for the execution of this project, as he won't be able to make it to the construction sight. I won't discuss any of the nitty-gritty details of the phone calls, as this will remain a spoiler-free review. However, Knight's screenplay maintains a wonderful build-up, as the suspense continues to get more intense. Ivan has an incredibly smooth way of talking, but the question is, will he successfully make-up for his betrayal and ensure that his project at work doesn't go downhill?
Since there aren't any car chases of any sort, the dialogue is standing by itself. Fortunately, Knight's writing works incredibly well. The dialogue is quick and raw. Locke delivers the "fly-on-the-wall" effect, as it doesn't even feel scripted. The pacing is tremendously smooth, as the picture alternates between these two stressful issues that continue to break Ivan down. He is a flawed man who has made many mistakes. The audience continues to learn more about these problems as the feature continues. By not portraying this character as a saint, it makes him feel a lot more like a real person. While it isn't very easy to sympathize with him for his horrible decisions, there's a lot more to Ivan. He's more admirable, as he continues to fight to keep the promise that he has made to himself. While we don't learn very much about his past, the small amount that we do find out is incorporated in the dialogue. Ivan looks in his rear-view mirror and sees the light from other cars flood into his. This is symbolic of his father's presence, as Ivan continues to argue and debate with the father that was never involved in his life.
Locke is ultimately a film about responsibility and morale, as Ivan is forced to confront his demons via his Bluetooth and suffer the consequences of his actions. While he knows exactly what is going to happen, the audience is kept in the dark for the majority of the first act. Writer/director Steven Knight delivers information through the dialogue. We aren't given any background information before we're thrown into this dramatic thriller and the chaos truly kicks into high gear. This personal mission will get audiences thinking about how they would handle this situation, as Ivan tries to get his life back under control. Once we begin to approach the end of the picture, it becomes rather clear how this film is going to end. While the cut to black happens rather abruptly, the ending is still rather fitting. Once the credits start rolling, you'll be shocked just how captivated you were throughout the entire running time.
Not only does this motion picture take place in one location, but it's also a one man show. While we hear the voices of other characters on the phone, Ivan Locke is the only character that we actually see. Tom Hardy is in nearly every shot of this film. This is an incredibly difficult performance to pull off, since he's left with the responsibility to carry the entire movie. If his delivery is even slightly off, the dramatically intense screenplay could be torn to shreds. Fortunately, Hardy is absolutely phenomenal in this role. He's believable throughout the entire running time, as he will never lose your attention. This hugely captivating performance will leave you sitting at the edge of your seat, all with the intelligent use of dialogue and delivery.
This is an intriguing character study that ultimately succeeds in not only keeping its audiences entertained, but making us intrigued by this man's journey to keep a promise that he made to himself. While his life continues to crumble around him, writer/director Steven Knight makes it feel as if the audience is sitting in the passenger seat right alongside Ivan. Tom Hardy is a revelation, as he delivers a powerful performance that will have you entirely immersed in every single word. It's difficult to talk about this movie without spoiling it, so it's best to just go see it for yourself. You won't be sorry. Locke utilizes minimalistic elements and transforms them into a hugely well-crafted dramatic thriller. Highly recommended!