Locke – Review
“Locke” is the best movie I have seen for 2014. Starring Tom Hardy, more known as the gravelly voiced - crab claw masked villain “Bain” in “Batman – The Dark Knight Rises”, British actor Hardy gives the film “Locke” a Best Actor Oscar worthy and charismatic nominating performance in what initially is a minimalist and somewhat subdued tale of a solitary man behind the wheel of his car that turns into one of this year’s most powerful cinematic emotional efforts.
“Locke” masterful reminds us that great stories – great movie stories begin and end with the written word. And it’s the use of the written word throughout “Locke” that grabs hold both of our imagination and our thoughts tapping into mature universal themes that are all too familiar to us as viewers. It relies not on technical pyrotechnics, racing cars or flashy explosions, but instead adroitly showcases very cleverly the unpredictable and sometime volcanic quality of human emotions to thrill and mesmerize us.
The principle and only visible human character we see in the entire 90 minute film is a construction site manager named Ivan Locke who is in charge of a lucrative project north of London. As he leaves work late one evening, we see him with a somewhat somber look on his face. As Locke gets into his BMW SUV we are lead to presume his somber mood is a reflection that he is simply tired and is heading home to get some much needed rest after a long hard day at work preparing for the critically complex and preparatory task of pouring reinforced concrete for the building’s foundation the next day. But what we discover early on as Locke starts to drive away is that he is not heading home, but rather is making an unexpected mad dash to London. What happens for the remainder of the film is an ingenuous soloist tale of Locke managing three separate phone calls in his car. One call from his home involving his wife and son, another phone call from an assistant at his construction work site and another call from an acquaintance in London that he is rushing to see.
We the viewers watch this movie and listen to these phone calls not simply as a fly on the wall but more as a curious voyeur in the other front seat of his car, as theses three separate phone calls go from being separate and sublime; seemingly having no relation and connection to one another and instead turn into a more redeveloped, more revealing and more fascinating connected conversational story of their symbiotic interdependence to one another as we see Locke’s’ spiral downward into an inextricable entanglement of raw emotions, embarrassing stress, contemporary intrigue and human angst.
I can’t say much more here about the plot, but I will say that come next January when the Oscar nominations come out, Tom Hardy will probably be forgotten for this stellar performance as the Academy has shown to have the unfortunate propensity to remember only those films that come out only after Labor Day. The same applies to the Director Steven Knight who also wrote the screenplay to “Locke” that from my perspective is a uniquely imaginative modern story about a contemporary man forced to handle personal matters from both the cocoon isolation of his car and through the impersonal connectivity of modern wireless phones. “Locke” reminds us as that technology both helps and hurts when we have the urgent need to interact with one another especially with the people we care about and love
I loved “Locke” because it’s smart, creative and thought provoking. It made me think what if William Shakespeare and Alfred Hitchcock came up with an idea for a film what would it be like. I have no doubt it would be a one man play like “Locke”.