Thursday, 20 August 2015

Locke (2014)

Locke is one of those films that sounds awful on paper, and has every chance of being awful in reality, but manages to pull through thanks to the talent and care of everyone involved.

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) leaves the construction site he foremans on the eve of his biggest work project to date and sets off on a journey that will change his life irreversibly. On his two hour drive from Birmingham to London he tries to navigate his way through both his rapidly crumbling professional and personal lives via phone calls to his wife, family, coworkers and a figure from his past.

As the viewer you're trapped in this car for the duration of the film, just you and Tom Hardy. Once over the ridiculous Welsh accent (although, that is just how they talk) it's Hardy that this entire production relies and thrives upon. It's just him in a car talking to disembodied voices and it just works so goddamn well. It's a testament to what film can really be even at it's barest minimum. This is a man's entire life falling apart. There are no set pieces, no explosions. Just a guy in a car doing the speed limit, most of the time.

It's this bare bones approach that makes you focus on what works so well. Hardy pulls off this troubled man who is trapped by a decision he made that was so out of character with grace. He captures all the many faces of a man who is prepared to pay the price for the mistake he's made, in effect he's playing a number of characters within Ivan Locke himself.

Locke is grounded so much so in this minimalist storytelling that the verisimilitude of it all is what grabs you so much. Sure, we might not all be critical to the biggest concrete pour in Europe, but everyone will experience a night close to Ivan Locke's when your work life and your home life and everything else comes crashing down on you all at once and you just do your best to cope. Stories like that are relatable because, although this might be the most interesting night in Locke's life, it's probably on par with the most interesting night of most people's lives.

You can have all your superheroes, or your eldritch horrors or your international super spies and they're all well and good, but Locke is real. And it's just captivating.