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'Locke' review: We are a collection of our experiences

Tom Hardy attends a premiere of "Locke."
Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images



Much like an uncomplicated stage play, “Locke” is the study of one man’s character in but a glimpse. Oh, but what a glimpse. Available on DVD or blu-ray on Aug. 12, 2014, this eighty-five minute film encompasses a two-hour drive set in a car. One man’s life is summarized in so little time based on one major decision. “Locke” is a masterful short story that translates the soul of a man onto the screen.

After receiving news from Bethan (Olivia Colman), a former co-worker, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) drives away from his planned and accomplished life to deal with the consequences of a one-night-stand; Bethan is going into premature labor. Committed to supporting his nearly born child no matter what because his own father abandoned him, Ivan attempts to settle his regular responsibilities at home and work through phone calls during his journey. Still committed to his responsibilities even when his absence invalidates them, Ivan tries to explain the situation to his wife (Ruth Wilson) while rotating phone calls to his co-workers to ensure the success of their enormous job set for the morning, an important concrete pour. In the course of his trip, Ivan attempts to rationalize his decision to everyone as he tries to convince himself that he’s doing the right thing, unlike his father. He hides behind logic as others respond emotionally.

With such a brief story and an impossible to ignore title, one earns a deeper meaning to the film if one considers philosopher John Locke’s perceptions of “the self” or “identity,” specifically the idea that events from our early years can leave lasting impressions upon us. The philosopher states “the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences,” which is clearly true of the character Locke of the film. Maybe the association is unintentional, but Ivan Locke is clearly motivated by events of his youth that have left permanent impressions on his psyche.

A study of one man’s entire character in approximately one-and-a-half hours, “Locke” relies on Tom Hardy’s expert performance to carry the film. Other characters only appear as voices over the phone, so Tom Hardy’s expressions are significant to the film’s success. These secondary characters suggest that Ivan has gone mad, an interesting contradiction to his rigid, clear perspective; Ivan is burdened by his responsibilities and a need for control and still feels devoted to them as others feel let down. As Ivan travels from one point in his life to the next, his whole world turns upside down as consequence of his feelings towards his own father. “Locke” is a truly fascinating character study that reflects on the internal struggle of major decisions.

Rating for “Locke:” A

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

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