Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott
Plot: Ivan Locke, a construction manager and family man, decides to drive to a hospital 90 minutes away to welcome the birth of his child resulting from a one night stand, and the decision proves to be a tough one as the phone calls he has to take turns his life inside out.
Review: Films featuring a mostly one person performance are tricky to pull off, as the possibilities are quite limited when it comes to making a great story. Buried starring Ryan Reynolds and the recent Gravity with Sandra Bullock are good examples.
Locke features Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a construction manager in charge of a new building that's about to begin construction the next day. On this night, he makes a decision to drive all the way to a hospital 90 minutes away to see a woman he had a one night stand with, who is now in labor with his child. Throughout the journey, he has to make and take calls from the woman, the man he put in charge of the building in his absence, his very furious boss, and his wife, to whom he has to break the terrible news.
Steven Knight, who wrote and directed Hummingbird starring Jason Statham, took a big risk filming this, which again he also penned. A film made up entirely of a man driving and talking on the phone? On the surface it doesn't look very appealing. But thanks to his solid screenplay and a tour de force performance from Hardy, the film works brilliantly.
Hardy plays Locke as a regular guy, someone who has made a terrible mistake and is now trying to take responsibility for it, at the cost of his marriage and job. The amazing thing is, even if you've never been in his position, Knight's screenplay and Hardy's acting makes Locke a very relatable person to the audience. I think we've all been in a tough spot some time in our lives, and how we react to it is rather similar to what Locke is going through. Locke can be clearly seen as a good but flawed man who screwed up big time and knows it, and now he has to atone for it, even if it means destroying everything he holds dear.
Hardy is simply awesome in this role, carrying the entire film with his conversations over the phone, and his emotional reactions, within the confines of a moving vehicle. He makes us root for him easily even during moments when he has to be rude to get things done. You'll feel for him when he tries to tell his wife the bad news, and comfort the other woman while she's in distress at the hospital, though personally I enjoyed his exchanges with Donal, the man he left in charge of the building project, which gets quite hilarious at times.
I admit, this film may not be everyone's cup of tea. You probably won't enjoy it if you're expecting something more than a story about phone conversations in a moving car. I, for one, enjoyed it for what it was. It's something different than what most people would expect. Recommended. (4/5)