Synopsis: Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his careful cultivated existence.
Single actor films are a very tricky beast to master. Although many have tried over the years, few have nailed it. To have the charisma to carry an entire film and the audience with it is a rare talent. It takes an actor who can command a stage as easily they can command a screen. Some actors have been unsurprisingly adept at this (Robert Redford in All Is Lost), some have proven they are more than just muscles and a cheeky grin (Ryan Reynolds in the terrifying Buried) and some were just not cut out for it (Paul Walker in Vehicle 19). Tom Hardy is the latest actor to test the limits of his character acting in such a way with BMW on a motorway thriller Locke.
Set almost exclusively within the cofines of Ivan Locke’s car as he travels from an undisclosed location down the motorway to London, it is clear from the first minute that this methodical and unflappable man faces a life changing crisis. Demonstrated in hindsight with a beautiful subtelty as he waits at a set of traffic lights in the opening moments, the literal crossroads at which he is sat reflecting the moral dilemma he must now work through whilst bathed in the sporadic neon of motorway lights. What quickly transpires is that this is not a story about a man with a difficult choice to make and wrestling with his own demons about which path to choose. It is about the aftermath of that choice. Making the calls that will change lives forever. Sacrificing everything he knows and loves for the unknown because it is the right thing to do. All the while trying to salvage the one thing he can still control in order that he may leave some form of legacy as everything else crumbles around him in spectacular fashion, juxtraposed against his unwavering calm and the quiet solice of his luxury car. It is a wonderfully measured dissection of the decisions people are forced to make every day all around the World.
Written and directed by Steven Knight, best known for scripting the fantastic Eastern Promises and Dirty, Pretty Things, Locke certainly benefits from being at the hands of someone who understands quiet, complex characters. And in Tom Hardy he has an actor who is getting a chance to show he has an extensive range that will keep him the Hollywood British A-List for a while yet. It isn’t a total one man show though, as Locke tries to maintain some sense of control over the spirraling mess he has made, via telephone with colleagues and family. Olivia Coleman, Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott as his wife, mistress and former colleague respectively, portray more emotion and character depth via bluetooth over a car speaker than 95% of actors could do with an entire movie all to themselves.
Conclusion: Steven Knight chose a risky project for only his second diretorial effort and came through with a gripping account of the aftermath of a life altering decision.
Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Coleman, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson