There have been only a couple of films in (my) recent memory which have primarily had just one main actor who was the focus of that particular flick: Phonebooth and Buried. The latter is better than the former however both have their similar merits. Both create a story from almost nothing using just a phone. Both happen where you can feel totally isolated. Both create a brilliant sense of hope even though it may be false. But just Buried has, what I feel is an unexpected ending. The same has been done again, one man, one phone, talking to several people yet still completely isolated. Alone.
Locke, starring Tom Hardy, is a journey of one man trying to get from Point A to Point B. It’s a simple as that It’s what happens on the way is what creates the image of the man we see in front of us. The only man we ever seen in front of us throughout the film. At the start, he finishes his job, takes off his boots, puts them in the back seat, sits comfortably in the drivers seat and gets going. After that, it’s Hardy’s face on screen for about an hour and a half, giving an incredible performance. Incredible because it’s all on Hardy. We hear voices and see the lights of other late night drivers, but that’s it.
During his commute to London, he speaks to his boss, his wife, both of his sons, his co-worker, his lover, the nurse, the doctor and a few others in between. Whilst his emotions remain on a slight simmer, there are occasional outbursts which appear to be out of character for a usual mellow and quietly spoken Ivan Locke. Despite his mellow mood, you can see the weight of everything happening through these phone calls resting on his shoulders, the stress slowly boiling up further and further. His outbursts are rare moments come with perfect timing whether it’s to do with why he’s taking this journey or how he’s trying to solve a problem in his construction site. they feel right
This journey is the result of one mistake Locke has made, a mistake which was a while ago and only recently has come back to haunt him. This one mistake has caused Hardy’s Ivan Locke to have a truly existential crisis. It’s with all of these elements where we see how the director, Steven Knight who also wrote Locke, shows incredibly strong human emotions in such a simple way. Hardly any reaction to what is happening to him, Tom Hardy’s face tells a lot of tales.
This is essential a simple film about a job going wrong and a man’s personal life in turmoil, all of which he is trying to sort out in one night. A strong leading man with an up-and-coming writer / director, a car and the road prove that’s all you really need for an astonishing movie.