Just a few weeks ago, Dallas had one of its largest events for film reviews. The Dallas International Film Festival is a highlight for movie goers, actors, and film promoters. This is where I first heard of the new film Locke. The film festival has grown quite a bit since it began. In fact, it’s grown so much that I and 35 other people couldn’t get into this film even with a media pass. Sad day for me. Anyhow, I was able to obtain admission to a screening just a week later and my expectations were more than met. Locke is pure emotion. It’s an up-close and personal look into one man’s very difficult day.
Not everyone handles adversity well and some better than others. Ivan Locke is a dedicated family man and passionate building manager. We are introduced to him on the eve of the biggest event of his life. A multimillion dollar concrete foundation event that marks the peak of his extremely successful career. However, life isn’t easy. Slowly, throughout the film you begin to learn more and more about Ivan and exactly what kind of man he is. The film does this through a series of phone calls and conversations that the audience gets to be a fly on the wall for. This I found to be a very interesting, raw, and honest form of getting to know a character.
The film Locke, it turns out, while simple in design is one of the most multi-layered films I’ve ever seen. I’ve never found a character to be as relatable as this character because of the way he is presented. While watching this film, the progress of events allow you to make your own opinions of him and his choices. This makes the story incredibly personal. Locke has some issues to deal with on this evening. Immediately the audience learns how dedicated, hardworking and driven he is in his career. These characteristics expand into his family life; he loves them deeply. Unfortunately, everyone makes mistakes and we learn that one night, after another big career moment, he sleeps with another woman. What I like most about this character is that he makes no excuses. Ivan Locke knows that what he has to do is hard but that doesn’t keep him from doing it. The events of this film are the consequences of that single night.
It also takes a very talented actor to be able to portray a character like Ivan Locke. One with so many strong qualities and deep layers, it’s a challenge for even the most experienced. Tom Hardy has had several roles in many big name films recently. If you look at his resume however, none have really put him in the spotlight completely. In Lawless, he was excellent but quiet and had very few speaking lines. In The Dark Knight Rises, his parts were limited, but he began to gain prowess as a leading character. This film is nothing like the other films he’s been a part of and we finally get to see him in a leading role. I think he handles it well. We finally get to see Hardy in his natural accent. No hillbilly twang and no raspy echoing bane voice. To me, this is important because it shows just how dynamic an actor he is and shows how ready he is to handle this role. Locke is torn, aching and in some of the scenes experiences torturous conversations that only someone with tremendous acting ability can accurately portray.
The struggle of Ivan Locke to navigate this experience is felt by the audience in every moment. It’s not an easy situation but he handles each situation step by step in order to overcome them and move on to the next. It’s a testament for everyone in dealing with troublesome events. Sometimes you make mistakes, but you have to step up and accept consequences and not run from them. Unfortunately, doing the right thing is hard sometimes. They can be harder than hard, and it can be torture to lose the things we work so incredibly hard to obtain. Family, jobs, and goals are important to everyone. Not to mention all these events play out while he’s driving, and we all know how easy it is to overthink things while driving. You have nothing else to do but sit, think and stare and the lights and lines in front of you. Those lights and lines have a power that send you subliminal messages about how much you suck.
I was beyond impressed with Locke and I’m glad to finally see Tom Hardy in a role that takes advantage of his acting abilities. I expect to see a lot more from him in major roles after this as well as writer and director Steven Knight. If you get the chance to see this film, take advantage of that too. You won’t be disappointed. However be forewarned, it’s not a happy film.
I give Locke 5 “broken turn signals” out of 5.
by Jason Burleson