Starring: Tom Hardy
Director: Steven Knight
Genre: Thriller. But not much of a road movie, per se.
IMDB says: Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his careful cultivated existence.
By any logic at all, Locke should suck, and suck like a lonely pervert’s vacuum cleaner.
If it was a piece of theatre it would feature one man on a chair, dimly lit, responding to voices-off, angst ridden and lit like a strip club in Utah. Only arty women and men with non-ironic beards and berets would ever pay money to watch it.
But here’s the thing, despite the fact that it features only one actor – Tom Hardy, who has turned Welsh just to add to the entire weight of the movie that he’s carrying – and no more than half a dozen shots.
His character, Ivan Locke, climbs out of his construction-workin’ wear in the first scene, into a BMW SUV – the transport of choice for people with more money than taste – and proceeds to unravel his own life with the help of a Bluetooth connection and a mobile phone.
Making it even more difficult to believe that it can be enjoyable, he spends a lot of time talking about concrete and how much of it to pour for the footings of a high-rise building. In detail. Yes, concrete.
So how on Earth did your Harsh reviewer get through more than five minutes of this seemingly drab and dire sludge? Because both Hardy and the script are brilliant. Gripping, emotionally wrought.
I won’t spoil the plot for you, but suffice it to say the one night stand he had with a horrific old bullet in a smegma-stained hotel room after a few too many cheap wines results in him having to break up with his wife and abandon his kids over the phone while on the way to the birth of his unplanned and unwanted child while losing his job, conducting an external monologue with his dead father and dealing with a drunk and abusive underling.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll subliminally want to buy a BMW… actually you won’t laugh at all, but you won’t be able to turn it off. Locke, that is, not your nouveau riche SUV, which will turn off whenever you ask it to, because Germany automotive engineering is among the world’s finest.
Personally, I’m against art house films because I think the word “art” can usually be substituted with the word “shit”, but despite sailing very close to the arty wind, Locke is an absolute cracker.
I’m giving it four Oscar-baits out of five.