Locke is about a man driving his car down a motorway while fielding phone calls on his hands-free mobile. That may sound dull, but Locke is one of the most gripping films you will see this year.
Tom Hardy enters a new acting stratosphere here (think Tom Hanks) in his role as Ivan Locke, a man with a lot of problems. He is under intense pressure, personally and professionally. And especially personally.
Locke is driving down the motorway when he starts to receive one phone call after another. Where is headed? Locke got a woman named Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman) pregnant 7.5 months ago, and she is about to give birth to his child, two hours away in London. Locke is also in charge of a massive concrete pour at the construction sight he manages, the largest construction sight in Europe. Meanwhile, Locke's family is waiting for him to come home. So instead of going to the building sight in Birmingham or to his family home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, he feels he needs to do the right thing: be at Bethan's side for the delivery of his child.
The plot appears quite thin but believe me, it's not. It's an exhilarating thrill of a ride with Tom Hardy at the wheel, spending the entire tension-fueled 90 minutes driving his car with the camera either in his face or from behind his head.
Locke calls his boss and tells him he's not going to be at the building sight the next day to oversee the project. So Locke has to rely on his not-very-sober colleague Donal (voice of Andrew Scott), and he advises him over the phone what exactly he needs to do. In between conversations with his boss and Donal, Lock is calling and receiving calls from his his wife and two young sons, asking what time he's going to be home because he's late, and will miss the big game on television. In the midst of these calls, he's also fielding calls from Bethan, who's scared and alone at the hospital about to give birth. It gets more urgent when the nurse assigned to Bethan tells him that she's close to giving birth, and more so when Locke's wife Katrina (voiced by Ruth Wilson) slowly comes to the realization why Locke is not coming home and why. We see Locke's face during this stream of phone calls, stressed, confused, hurried, and frustrated.
Locke is a unique piece of filmmaking, anything unlike I've seen in a long time. Writer/Director Steven Knight had Hardy for only two weeks to shoot this film. After shooting Hardy, Knight shot scenes from the back of a head and various other shots using a Hardy stand-in. And Locke is told in real time, which allows the viewer to feel the clock ticking, just like Locke does. The backdrop and look of this film - a hypnotic vista of motorway lights illuminating Locke's face - adds to the intensity. When you leave this film you will feel like you just ran a marathon. It's a must see.