Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
2013/ UK, USA
Director: Steven Knight
Starring: Tom Hardy, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Coleman
Driving in his car at night, Ivan Locke (Hardy) is a man who is troubled. Working on a construction project that is woefully unprepared for the work ahead and approaching deadlines, Ivan is also driving towards a hospital where a woman (Olivia Coleman) who he had a one-night-stand with is giving birth to his baby. Through the course of his journey, Ivan speaks on the phone to colleagues and loved ones as his life descends into chaos.
Sometimes it’s nice to know that whilst there is a place for big-budget over-the-top popcorn-muncher blockbusters, there’s also room for the smaller projects. Little films that may not boast a budget on the tens of millions but thrive on concept, originality and performance. Locke is one such film, even given the rather high-profile names amongst the cast.
The film is extremely minimalist in its execution, with virtually the entire film set inside a car and with Tom Hardy being the only visible presence on screen. It would be very easy for such a role to be fouled up, but Hardy does a fantastic job. Carrying about a thick Irish accent like it’s a weapon of rage, and flitting mentally between eerie tranquillity and almost outright delusion in an entrancing performance. Throughout the film he interacts with a supporting cast that is otherwise voice only. The voices in isolation also help to give emphasis to some great work, especially Tom Holland as Hardy’s son who has one particularly powerful sequence.
Needless to say, Locke isn’t the most conventional of films and focusing on just one actor on-screen for even an admittedly fairly brief movie can be heavy going, but with some great performances at its core, Locke is already one of the year’s highlights.