Set in real time and in one car for 85 minutes, it would be safe to say that Steven Knight’s latest film “Locke” could be hard to sell. But don’t let the premise turn you off, for “Locke” is as tense as any thriller I’ve seen, with a performance from Tom Hardy that’s one of his strongest ever.
Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a structural engineer who has spent years building a reputation as a respected professional and as a dedicated family man. On the eve of what could be the crowning achievement of his career, we see Locke enter his car and leave the city for the motorway.
Over the course of the film and through the conversations Locke has with Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott and Ruth Wilson, we see how one mistake can cause a settled and controlled life to collapse around him.
Hardy is wonderfully on form here, taking on the pressure, the heartbreak and the madness that Locke goes through as he tries to keep his sanity while coping with three different conversations with three different people who depend on him. At the same time Locke must also deal with the voice in his head of his dead father, whom Locke has strived his entire life to avoid ending up like.
Colman, Scott and Wilson are here in audio only, but are suitably terrific actors able to bring the emotion through in voice only, from sheer devastation and betrayal, to worry and concern and often times some required levity.
“Locke” may be the tale of one ordinary man and his unraveling life, but with Knight’s direction as tight and controlled as his main character, the audience has cleverly been placed in the passenger seat with Locke for the tense and riveting journey.