Locke stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a structural engineer on the eve of his biggest project to-date. During his career, Locke has built himself a highly respected reputation, but in one night, all of that is thrown away because of a one-night-stand, nine months earlier. Locke depicts Ivan’s journey from Wales to London as he races to support the mother of his unborn child, while jeopardising his marriage and career.
Locke is director/screenwriter Steven Knight’s second feature, the first being the Jason Statham thriller, Hummingbird, and yet, he’s delivered a thoroughly entertaining and tense thriller.
When you consider that the film is set for its duration in Ivan’s car and that it only features Tom Hardy (on screen), then it is even more of an achievement. A film reliant upon just one actor and shot in an enclosed space was always going to he a gamble, but through excellent directing and acting, the team of Hardy and Knight deliver.
The film isn’t perfect though, there are moments during Ivan’s journey when both his life and mind appear to be unravelling. For the most part, this relates to Ivan’s dead father, who abandoned him as a child, with Ivan occasionally slipping into mild rants and gesturing at the rear-view mirror as if his late father is a passenger. While these scenes go some way to explain Ivan’s bizarre decision to seemingly throw away his personal and professional life, they do veer dangerously close to being cheesy and almost (unintentionally) comical.
However, despite these minor grumbles, the film works very effectively, telling its tale through telephone conversations with family members, colleagues and a host of others. Here Knight has called upon a host of excellent British actors, including Olivia Coleman, Alice Lowe and Danny Webb, whose vocal performances help enhance the film.
Locke heralds the arrival of a British director to-watch and at the very least will continue Hardy’s ascension to super-stardom. Now, who would have expected that from a director who worked on the ’90s sitcom, The Detectives?!
Locke was screened at the 57th BFI London Film Festival and its release date is TBA.