Locke

Movie Review #867

“LOCKE” IS COMPELLING FROM BEGINNING TO END.

★★★★
By Alexander Diminiano

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Released April 25, 2014 (limited)
Drama
Rated R (contains frequent profanity)
85 minutes

“Locke” is an 85-minute movie consisting of one scene, one character, and many, many phone calls. The hero/villain in this one-man show, Ivan Locke, takes a midnight drive on the highway, answering calls from three different individuals: his boss, his wife, and his mistress. All are involved in some way with the drive he is taking. His company needs him back at work the next day, but Locke is miles away. His family wants him back home the next day, but Locke might not be able to get back so soon. And the purpose of the trip is to visit his mistress in the hospital, as she gives birth to their son.

The moment he makes this shocking truth—the very purpose of his drive—known to his wife and his boss, they both see him as a completely different man. His confession reflects his honesty, but also his unrelenting selfishness. Much of the tension builds from every decision that either Locke’s boss or his wife makes when he refuses to cooperate; he wants nothing more in the world right now than to ease his mistress’s pain and to witness the birth of his son.

This is an awesomely packaged thriller. It doesn’t come without flaws, but none of the few I noticed seemed to matter. I can’t critique “Locke” for anything but what it is: a great movie. Its skillful, paranoid camerawork represents one of the most creative films of 2014. The phone calls are almost constant, but when they’re not, “Locke” really accelerates, as we watch its leading dominating character develop cabin fever. The film really takes off with Tom Hardy’s performance. While the film plays out as a one-man show, an inherently theatrical sort of production, it stands for something incredibly cinematic. This is an astutely crafted action thriller, except all the action resides inside the dialogue.

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