Locke is a one man must-see

Tom Hardy delivers an amazing performance in Steven Knight’s one man movie Locke.

“I just have myself and the car that I’m in. And I’m just driving and that’s it.”

Locke_Tom HardyStraightforward and plain speaking, that’s Ivan Locke. In a beautifully understated but nonetheless tour de force performance from Tom Hardy, we focus entirely on what happens to this hard working family man over the course of 90 minutes. Writer / director Steven Knight has crafted a drama that slowly begins to grip its viewer like a vice, as Locke gets in his car in Birmingham and begins the real-time journey to London and in the process, having to make and receive an ever-increasing number of life-changing phone calls.

You wouldn’t initially think that a man in a car on his mobile for an hour and a half would make for mesmerising viewing but that’s exactly what happens here and after seeing the film on its release and tweeting

‘A blisteringly brilliant performance by Tom Hardy makes Steven Knight’s Locke totally compelling viewing’

I’m not sure why I didn’t write a review there and then. Now having watched it again on its DVD release, I’m just compelled to write this post and recommend it as a film you should see.

I’ve been dazzled by Hardy’s diverse portrayals over the past few years in supporting roles – first as Eames, the smart man you should know to get you out of a tight spot in Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Inception, followed by the emotionally vulnerable agent Ricki Tarr in the superb big screen version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy then reuniting with Nolan and going head to head against Christian Bale as the absolutely formidable and terrifying Bane in The Dark Knight Rises – it’s a real pleasure to see him in this as the leading man. And not just as the leading man, the sole performer.

LockeIn a chunky sweater and with a beard that almost means you don’t quite recognise him, we see Locke at the start of the movie with what we think is fairly ordinary life – married, father of 2 boys and manager of one of the biggest constructions projects seen for years but what we soon start to realise is that’s hiding some very deep, difficult thoughts about the choices he’s made in his life, his relationship with his father and whether a one-night stand with a co-worker could blow everything apart.

All these feelings flicker across Hardy’s wonderfully expressive face and as we listen to Locke’s soft, Welsh voice, we can see that underneath the quiet, amiable exterior, he’s struggling with the same suppressed violence he witnessed from childhood in his dad.

Knight has assembled a superb cast of British actors for the key people in Locke’s life, that we hear as the voices of the callers – from Ruth Wilson as his wife Katrina and Andrew Scott as the hassled colleague Donal, to the brilliant Olivia Colman as co-worker Bethan but it’s Hardy who holds your attention from first frame to last in a performance that’s one of the finest this year and makes this movie an absolute must-see.

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