It can take years to make a life for yourself, but it can take minutes to destroy it forever.
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) has what seems to be the perfect life. He has a perfect family, his dream job and tomorrow is set to be the crowning glory of his career. However, one phone call changes everything, and Locke has to make a decision that will change his life forever.
If I told you that this film is basically a man driving along the M1 making phone calls for 82 minutes, you wouldn’t expect it to be thriller of the year, would you? No, you wouldn’t. But, amazingly, I would put it as a contender as one of the best films of 2014. It’s cleverly written dialogue and carefully picked mix of characters make this film a work of art – something which, if you looked solely at the nature of Locke, you would think would be unachievable. Yes, the film is extremely reliant on these two particular aspects, but that’s the beauty of it. Locke is a National Lottery-funded British film, which means to the average Joe it had no huge Hollywood blockbuster-style budget. As a result, there wasn’t enough money to be taking out helicopters with cars or blowing up skyscrapers. Therefore, to make up for the lack of action, a riveting storyline had to be put in place, which is often forgotten about with a lot of the action-packed Hollywood blockbusters these days. Locke strips back the idea of a thriller to the bare bones of a good story and contrasting or conflicting characters, and succeeds in doing so.
However, I think writer Steven Knight has actor Tom Hardy to be thankful for in making Locke as good as it is. Hardy’s performance as the troubled Ivan is an absolute masterclass in acting, and I strongly believe that it is his performance that got this film off the ground. Hardy handles Ivan’s character with sincerity, making the performance believable and ultimately gripping. He shows the way Ivan is dealing with his crisis of being impeccably, and the way he portrays the man’s emotions just as his world is crumbling around him is clearly very heartfelt when speaking to his on-screen family, especially Ivan’s two sons who are amongst some of the innocent people caught up in his double life.
The likes of Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott provide voice-over performances which also play a vital role as without them, the film would stay only inside the car Ivan is driving. These performances take the form of the phone calls Ivan makes to various people throughout the film and let you use your imagination to decide just how these people react to the news he has to tell them.
The only criticism I have is, as good as Locke was, it did feel as though there was something missing. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was, but you will probably feel the same when you see it. It just didn’t seem to be complete, whether I just didn’t like the way it started or ended, but whatever it was that let it down a tiny bit for me, it didn’t impact the film massively, which means I can’t complain too much.
All in all, I think it’s fair to say Locke is worth a watch. Granted, Tom Hardy doesn’t do an awful lot like he has done in previous roles, but he does a tremendous job of playing a regular bloke in possibly his hardest hour and I think it also reminds the film industry just what an amazing film you can make with the minimum of a well-written story and solid acting.
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