Posted April 11, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews

Locke Review


Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is not on his way home. Instead he appears to be abandoning his life and work in Birmingham and is headed to London to be at the side of a woman he barely knows who is about to have his baby. On the journey there he has various phone conversations with his wife, children, co-workers and bosses as he tries to put the pieces of his broken life back in some order, despite the repercussions.

Tom Hardy takes the reins in what is likely to be called a “Powerhouse” performance from the actor. For the duration of the film we are with hardy – with only the disembodied voices of callers on his phone.

Ivan speaks in a calm welsh accent and initially seems intent and focussed on getting his work covered as well as having to admit his adultery to his wife – all of which gives way to raised voices and tension on screen. And it is Hardy’s expression and tone that carries the weight of the drama. Listening to voices persistently berate him without break and watching the minimal expression changes on Ivan’s face are what make for a real pot boiler.

It’s impressive that hardy would take a step down from big Hollywood fare. But clearly this is an actor who likes the challenge. He gave himself the physical challenges in the roles of Bane and Bronson, and even in Bane he restricted himself by having half of his face covered. Here he is seated and strapped in from the get go which has restricted his movements; and yet the body language he uses expertly gets across all we need to know about the ticking clock that is Ivan Locke.

Word has to also go out to Steven Knight for his strong visual style. Again limited to the motorway at night and the car interior – Knight uses these limitations to his advantage – making use of passing lights, reflections in mirrors, on glass, the glistening hues of the night time road and often used to build the effect of the brewing tension with their repetition.

The drama is perhaps stretched a little too far with Ivan having conversations with an imaginary passenger from time to time. This perhaps would have benefitted more if it wasn’t so on the nose, but otherwise this is a strong film with a concrete hard central performance.

4 Stars



Steven Hurst