Captivating. So this is about a construction manager who is a man of his principles (Tom Hardy). He has his mind made up to make a very long journey via car on a night where his entire life is about to change. The definition of a bottle movie is a film that keeps its story contained into one location. You see this happen more commonly in stage plays for practicality purposes, but in order for it to succeed on the silver screen, you have got to have yourself a dynamite screenplay. Locke has just that, and you would think that riding shotgun with some random stranger who can’t get off his cell phone may get old after a couple of miles, but the script is so stellar, you are on the edge of your seat to see what comes next.
Remember how good 2010’s Buried was? I love it when a bottle movie is done correctly, and this is right on that same level.
This is really Tom Hardy’s one man show; you hear the other people’s voices on his cell phone, but he is the only person you actually get to see acting. It’s a slow build; at first, it just seems like he’s making a few personal calls and you don’t know where it’s going, but as the night goes on, you get pulled into all of the drama that is plentiful in his life, and it is impressive just how quickly you’re brought up to speed with his entire situation. It’s fascinating to watch play out, as he has his mind made up that the correct moral choice is mandatory so as to be able to live with himself. You can tell by the look on his face that this is the worst day of his life, but he is determination personified. He is also one of the most cordial people you could ever meet, and you can see just how difficult it is for him to try to get all of his contacts to truly hear what he’s trying to say, given the highly dramatic scenario. He’s also a levelheaded no bullshit kind of guy, but given that he is in is such a dilemma, you can tell he is on the verge of a breakdown if one more thing goes awry.
It’s a long drive, and he’s got nothing but time to dwell on his decision.
I like this film a whole lot because it is something unique and different. If you’re going to watch this, you should be prepared for something unconventional, because you’re watching a one-man show up close and center, and that is not something you traditionally see in movies. If the runtime was any longer, it may have started to wear thin, but it is only 80 minutes if you skip the end credits, and it winds up being the perfectly satisfying length. Naturally, they do creative things with the photography, as you have to keep things fresh because you never leave this car, and you never at any point get antsy for having to be car-bound for the duration. This had to have been written with Tom Hardy in mind, and he does so much with this role, truly getting to showcase the extent of his acting chops. You should go out of your way to check this one out.
Locke (2013) ****1/2
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2014? See for yourself here.