LOCKE Eighty-five thrilling minutes of exactly what you see above.
  • LOCKE Eighty-five thrilling minutes of exactly what you see above.

It's a concept that could've gone either way: Stick Tom Hardy, one of the most dynamic actors in cinema today, in the front seat of a car for the full length of a movie, forcing him to act, pretty much, just with his face. Locke unspools in something close to real time as a construction foreman named Ivan Locke (Hardy) drives to London in the middle of the night to deal with a crisis, causing his life to fall to pieces in the process. The only other people in the film appear on the car's speakerphone, and Hardy, an actor who can demonstrate a whole hell of a lot of swagger when he wants to, plays Locke as a reserved, intelligent man who doesn't offer very much of himself to the people he's calling, or to the audience. There's no overacting here, no gnawing on the steering wheel, and—what do you know?—the quiet approach was the right way to go.

Locke is an intense filmgoing experience, mostly because it bristles with the high-wire intensity of a really intimate one-man show—in fact, it's actually even more powerful than most dramatic monologues because we spend most of the movie practically sitting in the actor's lap. Director Steven Knight, working from his own script, uses the world outside Locke's car to demonstrate his interior life: When things are getting stressful, police cars streak by, sirens blaring, on their way to an accident scene that we'll never see. When Locke feels alone and detached from everyone he's calling, the roads seem empty and he might as well be driving his truck in outer space. It's a great gimmick that never feels overdone or cheesy.

I don't want to get too much into the specifics of Locke's situation...

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