Film Review: Locke (2013)

“You don’t trust God when it comes to concrete”

Steven Knight’s Locke is a really rather remarkable film, set in real-time in a BMW as engineer Ivan Locke makes a hurried journey from Birmingham to Croydon. He’s the only person we see on screen, though he spends much of the time on his phone, and a large part of the dialogue is taken up with the logistics of what will be the most ambitious pouring of concrete since…well, who knows, but from these unlikely beginnings emerges a genuinely gripping thriller.

With a huge skyscraper project about to crown a glowing career and his wife and two teenage boys setting up a blissful family night in watching the football, Tom Hardy’s well-bearded Locke seems to have it all set. But the phone call that has precipitated his dash onto the motorway throws everything up in the air and forces him to face some huge challenges, all whilst never leaving his seat or letting his foot up off the accelerator.

I won’t give any more of the plot away here, it’s nice to have some surprises, but what I will say is that the supporting cast – all present simply through their voices – is just superb. From Ruth Wilson’s sausage-cooking wife to Olivia Colman’s blast from the past, Andrew Scott’s brilliantly hapless colleague to Ben Daniels’ furious boss, and Tom Holland and Bill Milner as his chirpy sons, there’s a brilliant array of characters crackling down the line.

But the real star of the show is Hardy, whose increasingly craggy face is hardly ever off the screen in its unflinching close-up. Even as events threaten to swallow him whole, his emotional conduct here is a masterpiece of restraint and calculation. Unable to give vent to his true feelings, each tiny movement becomes loaded with acres of meaning and Hardy scales down his natural expansiveness to great effect to deliver something fantastic. Hugely, highly recommended. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *