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Author Topic: Locke (B+)  (Read 1769 times)
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« on: April 27, 2014, 05:41:33 PM »

Locke is an interesting little film. The director, Steven Knight, chose to shoot the entire movie once through, every night, for eight days. Itís set almost entirely in a car and the only human being who ever physically appears on screen is Tom Hardy. It may not sound like the most commercially appealing idea ever, because it isnít, which is why itís quite an achievement that the experiment resulted in such an accessible movie.

Weíre drawn into the story with a brief scene establishing a construction site, which Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is leaving. He enters his car and begins a long drive that he will be making for the rest of the film. We soon learn that heís the construction manager of the site heís left, and that heís abandoning his post at a crucial point - on the eve of a massive concrete pour the likes of which Europe has never seen before. Itís a mystery why a man with so much responsibility, so trusted by those around him, would drop everything and speed off into the night. Itís this apparently sudden change in Lockeís character that prompts all of the film's drama - not only has Locke shirked his professional responsibilities, heís cancelled plans to spend time with his family too. Locke attempts to take practical steps to account for himself, making and taking several phone calls with colleagues and members of his family in order to explain that he understands the consequences of his actions, and feels obligated to follow through regardless. If the title werenít already taken, Locke could very well be called Do The Right Thing.

The setup is a great showcase for Hardyís talents, as we see him negotiating, consoling, arguing, pleading, and reflecting with a disembodied supporting cast, but as anyone who has seen Spike Jonze's Her can verify, disembodied does not mean dispassionate. Each member of the voice cast, which includes Olivia Coleman and Ruth Wilson, delivers a fantastic performance, and capably bring their characters to life with their voices alone, enabling you to imagine the scenes occurring on the other end of the phone vividly. The film is at its most theatrical when Locke converses with his dead father. Locke monologues and faces his inner demons by confronting a man who isnít there - it does seem hokey at first, and your personal tastes will determine whether you feel the device works dramatically or is a distracting contrivance, but it does allow for Lockeís formative years to be communicated to the audience without breaking the filmís structure.

In spite of the restrictions that the filmmakers placed on themselves, with cars being notoriously difficult to shoot in, and the challenges of keeping Lockeís theatrical one man show of a plot compelling, Locke is a very successful drama.

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