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'Locke' review: Brilliant thriller comprised of everyday tragedies

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Locke

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Tom Hardy absolutely delivers a powerhouse one-man show in this taunt, emotional thriller -- all the more impressive considering this film is essentially a man driving a car.

In short: Successful construction foreman and family man Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) endures a stressful, two-hour drive across the U.K. as he tries to square away professional and personal problems. (watch the trailer)

The first thing to know straightaway is "Locke" - from beginning to end - takes place entirely inside Ivan Locke's SUV. No other actors appear on-screen and every interaction takes place via cell phone.

That said, "Locke" is a relentless human drama comprised entirely of everyday tragedies. This is a human thriller that pits a normal man in several impossible situations - all of which he must confront and deal with in one night.

Ivan Locke is the antithesis of every super tough guy role in "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Bronson" that Tom Hardy has become famous for in the past decade. Ivan is an honorable, duty-bound man who struggles endlessly to set things right -- situations and conflicts he created.

The absolute key to "Locke" is Hardy's strong performance as an every man amid several conflicting, impossible situations - and Hardy excels as a man trying to do the right thing. Hardy is incredibly effective as a loving father talking to his son, a focused foreman instructing his assistant and a driven employee sparring with his antagonistic boss.

This film maintains a taunt intensity by never allowing Ivan Locke a moment of peace. The film smartly weaves together an relentless assault of conflicts - from his boss, his assistant, his wife and his son - that vary on several emotional levels and all of which directly relate to Locke's sudden journey to London.

The ending, however, is somewhat abrupt. There's only a vague impression of where this film is going -- and by this film's ultimate resolution, "Locke" comes to a somewhat unsatisfying ending. For as well as "Locke" juggles its conflicts and executes an emotional thriller, it also rolls to a serviceable (but less-than-interesting) conclusion.

Final verdict: "Locke" is an exceptional drama that wonderfully pits a normal guy into everyday dilemmas -- and this film is absolutely carried by the brilliant range and depth of Tom Hardy.

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