To make any kind of movie is no easy task, but for the independent filmmaker one is encouraged to try to have as few locations as possible and even fewer actors. Steven Knight has a very good screenwriting career going for him and he is just beginning to try his hand at directing. He takes the above mentioned idea of Indie filmmaking to the extreme with his latest effort, “Locke.” The movie stars Tom Hardy and ONLY Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke and the whole movie takes place in Locke’s BMW.
Ivan Locke has an important night coming up. He is the foreman for a construction site that is about to lay down one of the biggest concrete pours in the England’s history, but he will not be around to oversee it. His family is expecting him home to watch a big championship soccer game, but he will not be home this evening. Instead, he is taking a road trip to London for personal reasons, it is something he feels very strongly that he must do, even at the cost of his career and family.
Saying Tom Hardy is the only actor in “Locke” is a little exaggerated. While he does not physically interact with any other actors, his car trip is filled with many phone conversations, so all the other actors in the film are voice over actors. Kudos to Steven Knight, who also wrote the screenplay, because all these characters that we only get to know over the phone are people the audience feels like they really get to know. That is a very difficult task to pull off, but the filmmaker accomplishes it.
If the part of Ivan Locke is miscast then the whole movie is going to fail. Tom Hardy delivers one of his best personal performances in “Locke.” Actors are generally used to performing off other actors and being able to roam about to help express themselves. Hardy is confined to a car seat for about 90-minutes (with his seatbelt on), yet is able to show a range of emotions his character contends with as well battle a personal demon. Tom Hardy sells this with seemingly little effort.
Steven Knight is just getting his feet wet as a director. A mistake some writers who become directors make is that they take on huge projects right out of the gate. There is a lot to learn from going in front of one’s keyboard to behind the camera. There are not too many things you can do with a camera from inside of a car, but Knight manages to find enough angles so audience members don’t get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. There are shots outside the car, sometimes from a very long shot. There are shots of Locke’s dashboard as he scrolls through his contact list, shots over his shoulder, his reflection in the mirror, you get the idea. One drawback is that it is sometimes difficult to understand the actors through their English accents. The editing is good too. The movie does not take place in real time and dissolves are used to help show the passage of time.
“Locke” is a drama, but it could also fall in the classification of experimental filmmaking. Can a movie that only shows one actor on screen in his car work? Those who can truly appreciate the art of filmmaking will probably get more out of this movie than others. You don’t have to have that mindset to like this movie, but it is understandable how others may find it boring. The summer movie blitz is already in full swing right now and it’s pleasant to find a movie out there that is different from everything else. It is Rated R for language throughout.