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Locke - Movie Review

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Locke - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

When Ivan Locke – played by Tom Hardy – leaves work for the evening, he has a job he’s insanely good at, a welcoming home, and a happy family that is eagerly awaiting his arrival. By the time he gets to his destination, he has nothing. No one is killed. No one is kidnapped. No shots are fired. And, yet, Locke’s once well-constructed life lies in pieces by the end of his hour and twenty-five minute ride. And all Locke does is sit in the front seat of a car, speeding along an English freeway and use his phone. Sound like a gimmick film? Locke is, there is no denying that. But it is also one hell of a suspenseful journey in the shoes of a civilized sinner as he travels to his destination.

Written and directed by Stephen Knight, this one-setting film is a brilliant piece of cinema that flexes its muscles – thanks in large part to the involvement of Hardy – even as some of its bits and pieces come lose under the tension. Your attention definitely won’t falter. Hardy, who is truly commanding in his portrayal of a man paying for a severe lapse in judgment, is impeccably confident in the role even though he has no props; no other actors in the car with him; and no mask to hide under. He is lights out dynamic as his character abandons a construction job he’s overseeing, climbs into his car, and starts driving to face something destiny dared to repeat.

Knight, who allows the camera to ride shotgun, hypnotizes the audience with reflections, cold steel, the dark English night, and close-ups of Hardy’s strained face. But never once do we leave the car. There is no flashback. There is no escape. We ride with Locke because Locke must ride. His duty is at stake. Along the way, he tries to repair what he is leaving unattended. Sometimes the camera angle changes -- a wide shot of the car here, a reflection of his eyes in the rearview mirror -- but nothing pushes us out of the car - not even Locke’s exasperation as things get complicated between fielding calls from his wife, his job, his kids, and the person who requires his presence immediately.

Hardy, with the voices of Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels and Tom Holland keep things tense and electric. There are the occasional chuckles along the way but the suspense never once releases its hold until the very end of the picture. Ironically, Locke is good at his supervisor position – you know laying foundations upon which skyscrapers are built – but sucks at the whole personal aspect of building relationships. The evening the film depicts is the night that alters Locke’s life forever. Locke isn’t always on the phone. In those quiet moments, where it is just him and the shadows on the highway, he talks to himself and his invisible passenger; his deceased father.

Locke is a film that sneaks up on you. You feel its impact when the credits roll and it is a release that doesn’t seem possible from a film based around the whole one-setting gimmick. Buried did this. Hitchcock’s Rope did, too. But here, we have the element of a journey that – the farther Locke travels down the highway – so, too, does the life as he once knew it travel away from him. Or was this his destiny all along? Such tough questions for such simple of an idea to base a film upon. Few things where nothing happens make for good entertainment. Locke is one of those screenplays where the “nothing” that happens in other pictures is the most important part of the story.

With Locke, Hardy doesn’t merely act. He is most original, opening up his character and letting the audience partake of his soul’s fierce expression.    

Locke - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: Steven Knight
Writer:
Steven Knight
Cast:
Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:
No turning back.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You make one mistake, Donal, one little fucking mistake, and the whole world comes crashing down around you."
Distributor:
A24
Official Site: http://locke-movie.com/
Release Date:
April 25, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 12, 2014
Synopsis: A single phone call causes the life of a successful construction manager to unravel during his drive home.

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