Locke – film review

Tom Hardy takes centre stage in Steven Knight’s Locke, which hits cinemas this weekend. Review by Nicola Brown

“I have made my decision.” These words uttered by Gareth Locke, played by Tom Hardy, are recited like a mantra throughout the film. If he says it aloud enough times, perhaps he will be convinced it was the right one. Locke is the latest venture of Steven Knight, who both wrote and directed the almost-one-man film.

Locke is driving down the M6 from Birmingham to London. It is within this confined, solitary space that the entire film is shot. The audience is placed right there in the car with Locke. His stress, his anger, his insanity; there is no refuge for the viewer from watching Locke’s entire life disintegrate. The film is not always a comfortable watch. The audience is forced to sit alongside Locke throughout his emotional and mental turmoil. For this journey is one that will have a significant impact on the rest of his life.

In his car at night, Locke finds himself driving towards London where his baby is due to be born. The baby is not his wife’s, but the result of a one-night affair with a woman he does not know, derived from loneliness and wine. It is the night before a significant construction day on the building site Locke manages. Whilst driving to London he must tell his boss that he will not be present for a project he has spent months meticulously planning.

“I have made my decision.” The phone call telling him labour has started two weeks early means he must also reveal the affair and baby to his wife. One bad decision has left his career, his marriage and his family life in shreds.

Over the space of a car journey, Locke has potentially lost it all. All interactions are delivered through his hands-free mobile device, which is perhaps a significant nod to the modern human condition. Our lives are lived through technology and no matter how we try to ignore it, we are born and die alone.

Locke is the type of film that befits only a certain kind of actor. There are no special effects or exchanges to hide behind. The character succeeds in rousing sympathy, anger and frustration all from the driving seat of the car, and Hardy once again proves his versatility on screen.

Glasgow Film Festival

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