Locke is an extraordinary film about an ordinary life.
It follows, in real time, one Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), as he drives to London one night. Once he gets in his car, he never gets out, so this is a one-man show taking place within an extremely confined space. Hardy known for big physical roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Warrior never even gets to stand up.
As Locke drives, surrounded by the blinking lights of passing traffic, he has to deal with three crises simultaneously, all via a hands-free phone.
First, hes driving to meet a woman he barely knows (voice of Ruth Wilson) whom he had a one-night fling with nine months earlier. Now shes in a hospital, about to give birth to his child, and somewhat hysterical.
Second, he has to break this news to his wife (Olivia Colman), and her reaction filters down to their kids (Tom Holland, Bill Milner), who cant understand why he isnt home watching soccer with them.
And thirdly, he has to make sure a huge construction project hes just abandoned goes through as planned in the morning. And of course it seems to be unraveling.
Oh yes, he also has a bad cold.
Writer-director Steven Knight (he wrote Eastern Promises) keeps the pace lively by shifting Lockes attention from one crisis to the next and then back again. He also uses the basic contradiction of the situation Locke cant go anywhere yet hes always in motion to fine effect.
But its up to Hardy to sell this film, and he certainly does, with steely calm in his voice, holding it together even as life comes apart. The low-key tension is mesmerizing; the reality palpable. Locke is one riveting film.
-TOM LONG, DETROIT NEWS