Thursday, July 3, 2014

Locke Review

Locke is a very enjoyable example of a film being minimalist, literally an entire picture taking place in one location following only one person throughout. That one person is a man named Ivan Locke, and Tom Hardy plays the role brilliantly with a totally measured and mature performance and the only way the film could work is if he nailed the role. Sure, it took some real ass talent to craft such a small film in a way that would result in anything compelling, and for that credit is certainly due to writer and director Steven Knight, but really this is Hardy's film and even Knight must know that. For just over 80 minutes we watch Ivan Locke talk on the phone while driving, and it was a surprisingly riveting experience.

These phone conversations aren't merely random chats between old friends, they are incoming calls that represent chaos and the destruction of what was clearly a very blessed life. That is an area that this film was a massive success for me, its ability to develop a character on the fly without technically telling us any specifics about his past. We are able to gather the information ourselves that Ivan Locke is at risk of losing a wonderful wife and family dynamic and a career that carries massive importance in his life, and out of place flashbacks are not necessarily to make us care about his unfortunate circumstances. Knight wants us to follow the character here in this moment in his life, and he does so with confidence in his vision that ultimately makes it successful.

It is fascinating to watch a man deal with the consequences of his actions not just through dialogue with those he hurt but also with the turmoil churning through his own mind. Locke is a hard film to sell on someone who has never heard of it before, as the premise of a guy driving and talking doesn't exactly get a rise out of people, but hopefully both the Hardy performance and the fact that such a small character study among a sea of bloated blockbusters can demonstrate restraint and perfect pacing will get some people curious.


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