Written and directed by Steven Knight, Locke is the story of a man driving on his way home where he’s having phone conversations with other people as it lead to events that would threaten everything including his family. The film is a psychological drama that takes place entirely in a car where a man is dealing with these phone conversations as he’s trying to get home as the character of Ivan Locke is played by Tom Hardy. Featuring the voices of Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Tom Holland, Ben Daniels, Bill Milner, and Olivia Colman. Locke is a gripping and mesmerizing film from Steven Knight.
Set almost entirely on a highway in a car where a man is coming home, the film revolves Ivan Locke as he talks with various people where his life starts to shatter by not just events around him but also things that would threaten his own career as a contractor. It is a film with a simple premise where a lot of it has Ivan Locke returning home from work as he talks to his wife, his two teenage sons, co-workers, and other people as things start to unravel during the course of an entire night as he is on a highway driving home. Even as he is on a highway driving where he also copes with the invisible ghost that is his father whom he’s had a tense relationship with as it adds to the drama. There are a lot of monologues and such that writer/director Steven Knight has written as well as a lot of dialogue that play into the dramatic tension as it adds to Ivan’s own plight.
Knight’s direction does have some style as it opens with Ivan overlooking a construction site, taking off his boots, and entering his car as it’s one of the rare shots of the film of Ivan outside of the car as his face isn’t shown. Shot on the M6 motorway from the middle of England to the borders of Scotland, Knight does use some wide shots to get a look into the locations yet much of the direction emphasizes on close-ups and medium shots to play into the action in and out of the car with cars passing by. Notably as there’s cameras in certain areas in and around the car that focuses on Ivan’s conversations on the phone as there is always a shot of a computer screen in the car’s dashboard. The car, that is the BMW X5, is a character in the film as it play into Ivan’s own sense of isolation as his life would unravel through each phone call whether it is his sons calling him about the football game, co-workers talking about an upcoming concrete pour, and other issues through the span of nearly the film’s 85-minute running time. Overall, Knight crafts a riveting and evocative film about a man coming home as he’s on the road having phone conversation as his life unravels.
Cinematographer Harris Zambarloukous does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography as its usage of low-key lights for scenes in the car and available light from other cars add to the tense atmosphere of the film. Editor Justine Wright does amazing work with the editing with the stylish usage of superimposed dissolves and jump-cuts to play into the rhythm of the drive and the drama that unfolds in the car. Costume designer Nigel Egerton does terrific work with the costumes from the sweater and shirt that Ivan wears as it play into a man who is of great importance but also falling apart. Hair/makeup designer Audrey Doyle does nice work with the look of Ivan as he becomes disheveled during the course of the film as his life starts to unravel.
Visual effects supervisor James Devlin does fantastic work with the visual effects as it is largely minimal bits as backdrops and such for a few of the scenes on the road. Sound designer Ian Wilson does excellent work with the sound in capturing the sounds on the road as well as the way phone conversations are presented. The film’s music by Dickon Hinchliffe is superb for its dream-like guitar work and bits of ambient synthesizer to play into the intensity of the drama.
The casting by Shaheen Baig is wonderful as it features the voice work of Alice Lowe and Silas Carson as a couple of people working at a hospital, Kirsty Dillon as the wife of one of Ivan’s co-workers, Lee Ross as a police official, Danny Webb as a political official, Ben Daniels as a co-worker of Ivan in Gareth, and Andrew Scott as Ivan’s assistant Donal who is trying to help Ivan with all of the shit that needs to be sorted out. Tom Holland and Bill Milner are excellent in their respective roles as the voices of Ivan’s sons in Eddie and Sean who are calling their father over a football game as well as the family drama that is unfolding. Ruth Wilson is brilliant as the voice of Ivan’s wife Katrina who receives some horrific news that acts as a source of chaos between her and Ivan. Olivia Colman is amazing as the voice of Bethan as a woman Ivan knows as she has news of her own that would add to Ivan’s unraveling world.
Finally, there’s Tom Hardy in a phenomenal performance as Ivan Locke as a contractor who is driving home as he calls many on his car phone where Hardy is restrained in some parts as well as getting upset that include these invisible conversations with his late father. It is Hardy in one of his great performance as a man that is trying to deal with the chaos of his life as well as cope with his own faults as it is just intoxicating to watch.
Locke is a sensational film from Steven Knight that features an incredible performance from Tom Hardy. Along with its ensemble voice cast, ravishing visuals, an eerie music score, and a simple yet chilling premise. The film is definitely a mesmerizing suspense-drama that follows a man driving home as he deals with phone calls where he copes with events in his life as they would unravel in the span of an entire night. In the end, Locke is a phenomenal film from Steven Knight.
© thevoid99 2021
Nice review! I'll admit, I mostly watched this to listen to Tom Hardy's voice for two hours. lol His character's conflict didn't really hold my attention and could've been really hokey. But he gave a great performance and the direction makes it more compelling.
This is such a great movie, one of my favourites of that year. So many people turned up to the cinema screening I was at purely for Tom Hardy, I've never seen so many walkouts before! Casual movie fans, eh?
@Katy Rochelle-Thank you. I was surprised by this film and how engaging it was as I would watch Tom Hardy read a phone book while sitting on a toilet as it would be fun to watch.
@Often Off Topic-Casual movie fans are morons. All they want is something that makes them feel safe and familiar but they would bitch about everything as well. They're so fickle. I have no time nor tolerance for that attitude.
I LOVE this film, one of the best example of a contained film that is so effective! I miss Tom Hardy in something more grounded like this one. I have no interest in seeing VENOM even though I'm a big fan of his, it just looks silly.
@Ruth-Tom Hardy is usually awesome in anything as I did see some of Venom as I had fun watching him in that film though I was more interested in Michelle Williams as She-Venom. I'm pissed that they did little with Williams and the lack of She-Venom.
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