Thursday, 24 October 2013

57th LFF Review: Locke

Director/ Writer: Steven Knight

Starring: Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Tom Holland, Olivia Colman, Ben Daniels

Synopsis: As Ivan Locke (Hardy) leaves work one night he begins travelling the M6, on his way to London where he makes a handful of calls fundamental to his rapidly-changing livelihood.

Despite how clich├ęd this may sound, it’s true – every now and again a film comes along that you know little about; it’s a small-budget, understated production, ten times greater than the sum of its parts. Locke is such a film, outstandingly orchestrated and acted – 85 minutes of perfection.

The less you know about the plot, the better. To put it basically, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) spends the whole film in his car ringing his family and co-workers, trying to piece together dilemmas that have freshly transpired. Locke is a tranquil man, meticulous and very involved with his family and job. We learn this slowly over the film, with Steven Knight’s script slowly establishing this very normal character.

The script is, without negating its worth, simple. With the cinematic form able to bring us vivid imagination and the unbelievable, often the realistic and plain stories are ignored in favour of something like Avatar. Locke is wonderfully refreshing, inherently European (certifiably British), and strikingly ordinary. Locke is no stereotypical hero, but he is a commendable figure in everything he does. By the end, he is more of a hero in your eyes than the likes of Batman or James Bond. The decisions he makes during the car journey are tough and critical to his well-being, but his selflessness takes charge over any egocentric intent.

There’s softness to the protagonist; humanity almost unaccountable by today’s standards. He seems unlike most people we know in life, though there’s a familiarity and authenticity to him. This idea extends to Knight’s film in its entirety. It is an idiosyncratic story, yet peppered with elements of the everyday. Locke is a building supervisor – one of best men with concrete, claims one of his contacts – a blue-collared bloke. Some may find the film dull and monotonous, an issue easy to comprehend with its fixed portrait of a man. However, there’s a dynamism to the duologue set-up (having Locke call half a dozen close-companions) drawn from understanding completely what is happening, yet constantly guessing at where things may lead.

Locke is a solid, compelling drama – quasi-thriller – that is written, directed, acted, edited and scored with finesse. Every aspect of it boasts care and craft. If Steven Knight and Tom Hardy can make a concrete pour seem nail-biting, you know you’ve found something special.


Also posted on LiveForFilms

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