This film is billed as one of he great nail-biting thrillers of the year, but I think it is more of a personal drama, of a man alone trying to sort out lots of problems as he drives through the night. My first response to it was that it worked well as a radio play, as the entire film is of a construction engineer played by Tom Hardy, who leaves work in Birmiingham and drives through the night to London. As the programme notes from Robbie Collin of The Telegraph state: “At first, as Ivan’s car pulls away from a building site, the soundtrack ticking like a stopwatch, you wonderif Locke might be one of those films in which an ordinary man finds himself suddenly surruonded by an action movie. In fact, it’s the opposite: the crisis is deeply ordinary, and it’s the man that drives the action.”
Hardy’s acting is incredible. He is constantly on the phone to people who need his help; he is the voice of calm and reason, so his anger and frustration come out though his body movements, facial expressions and occasional outbursts when the phone is not on. He has a Welsh accent, which, like that of Richard Burton, has a real sense of authority, and calm.
The script is also extraordinary, with this sensible man using poetic language about the most mundane, the work of building. He talks of concrete being as delicate as blood, urging a colleague: “Do it for the piece of sky we are stealing with our building.”
This shoud be a boring film, as so little happens on screen, but as Collin writes: “There is almost nothing in Locke, and yet in 85 minutes it gives you everything cinema needs: a face, a lie and a journey in the dark.”
A surprising gem of a movie, and the phone voices are virtually a who’s who of British acting.