More often than not, you see huge posters plastered over every building and billboard in your area of the next big budget film with great effects, amazing marketing, yet a poor story line. Locke, I would safely say is on the other side of the spectrum. In my opinion, for my personal travels, which maintains mostly just the 486 bus route and perhaps the jubilee line here and there, I really haven’t seen that many posters for Locke. The only reason that I heard anything about it in the first place was because of last months Empire magazine. I have enjoyed all the work of Tom Hardy’s that I have seen previously, and the idea of just this one man in his car for the entirety of the film interested me incredibly.
The story of Locke focuses on protagonist, – and pretty much only character seen on-screen apart from a few extras at the very beginning of the film, but I doubt that they actually count – Ivan Locke, a Welsh builder and football fanatic. All other characters are purely heard through his car’s speakers via his bluetooth – terribly up to date, I have never understand how cars do this, so I think just this aspect of the movie managed to keep me entertained for the majority of the movie to be quite frank. But moving on. Ivan is presented as a man who is usually cool, calm and collected, but the result of one extremely out of character incident, he manages to completely derail his stable life. I don’t want to say too much about what actually happens, because I don’t want to ruin it for people who may be interested in seeing. One could say that it would be extremely boring having only one character shown on the screen and no change in location, but I thought it was fascinating. I, as the audience, was able to see the speed of which he almost voluntarily messes up his life within the space of an hour and a half. In fact, the thought of it is actually rather terrifying.
One of the most obvious aspects of the movie that I have to talk about is Tom Hardy’s performance. I’m perhaps biased when it comes to this, as I said, I have adored everything that I have seen him in. And Locke really is no exception. He manages to pull off this cool calm and collected normal man who is trying desperately to do the right thing whilst, somehow, managing to keep his composure. It’s a really intriguing performance. The character is actually very likable, I thought, despite the mistakes that he made. All of the dialogue that we hear are various contacts on his phone are his family, waiting patiently for him to return to watch the big match, his co-workers, who are half losing their mind as Locke manages to completely screw up the schedule by disappearing to London miraculously, and lastly, without saying too much – his responsibility. Though we never see any real life connection with these characters, the nature of which they speak to him on the phone translates perfectly to the audience the kinds of relationships he has, and shows how stable they usually are, which is why it is particularly interesting when we see them deteriorate at a pretty rapid pace. He’s instantly likable in the fact that he has let everyone down, which sounds quite contradicting. But it shows immediately a history of a man who has been good to his family and hard-working in his job, which makes the story just that little bit more tragic. An interesting spin that the writers added to the character in an attempt to add an intriguing piece of dialogue is with Locke looking into his rear-view mirror and addressing his deceased father. We see Ivan speaking the words then it is subtly revealed just to be inner monologue, which I felt was very clever. This side of the story shows a deeper history of the character, as we learn that he was his father’s illegitimate child and wasn’t really there for him as he grew up. These inner monologues are so bitter, that you can see that he has become the man that we see in the film in spite of his father, and for that, I liked him even further.
I admit that it is hard to talk about location when there is only one in the entirety of the movie – inside Ivan’s car. But I admit that I find it interesting. Whilst reading Empire, I found out that they filmed the entire film on the M1 pretty much in real-time, which I can only imagine being incredibly intense for Hardy. But it meant that it made it look so much more realistic as the camera jolts around at points and we can see lights from other cars and the claustrophobic nature that a car can have.I admired it because so many movies now don’t shoot car sequences like this and get away with it because it looks so seemless – but the fact that you can see the imperfections in the filming makes it seem so much more real. A car is a personal space. And we as the audience are completely interrupting and entering into Ivan’s world whether we like it or not.
I think this film is quite the acquired taste, though I would recommend to nearly everybody who has a good attention span. Luckily, the story is gripping enough, yet understanding enough to be able to hold the audience’s attention for long enough, and it doesn’t go on for painstakingly long that you just can’t wait to leave the cinema. I felt this film was refreshing from all the big Hollywood hits that I’ve been watching lately, and I love it’s typically British charm, though it does prove a different angle on British film. To re-iterate my point that I made as I opened this article, I think its important that people watch out for these slightly more independent movies. A good narrative is so important to a film that it would be a shame to miss all the opportunities to be taken on a real, down to earth adventure like Locke is. Plus the added bonus of being able to watch Tom Hardy for an hour and a half – whats there to lose?