Monday, May 26, 2014


Tom Hardy in a car and it’s fascinating

     Locke takes place in real time (85 minutes) and shows a hot guy in a cool BMW driving really fast from the midlands to London, while making a ton of phone calls.  Fortunately, he uses hands-free technology (it’s a pricey BMW, after all) and because British motorways (the equivalent of our interstate highways) utilize extraordinary, almost constant lighting on the M6, the main and only seen character can check some important files as well.

Tom Hardy On an 85 Minute Car Ride
     I don’t want to say anything else about the plot because much of the initial suspense of the movie comes from trying to understand why Ivan Locke, played with intense naturalism by Tom Hardy, insists upon making this journey.  Director Steven Knight makes it feel like a thriller, reflecting the tone of his previous scripts for the excellent Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and Eastern Promises (2007).  Locke takes place at night like Knight’s earlier Hummingbird (2013), which Neil and I haven’t seen.  However, Knight sets this movie almost completely inside a car.  What sounds limiting actually engenders a tour de force.  

Stunning Cinematography from Haris Zambarloulos
     Besides Knight’s almost steely control of tone, projected in Locke’s character, the music by Dickon Hinchliffe ratchets up the tension, and Haris Zambarloukos’ cinematography gorgeously captures the dark night of a soul and how he and the camera operators pulled it off defies imagination.  The car really moves at 80 mph, while surrounded by other cars on the M6 and the M1 going into London.  There are some digital visual effects for reflections of Locke, but they’re minor.  Filmed in six nights, the process blows me away.  The final shot pulls away to show a long shot of that motorway and it makes the viewer consider all the other stories going on in all of the other vehicles that can only be distinguished by their headlights.

     Hardy has co-starred in bigger budget movies like Warrior (2011) and This Means War (2012), neither of which we saw.  However, he’s made his reputation for us in ensemble prestige fare like Inception (2010), which he stopped in its tracks and left Leonardo DiCaprio looking a little dull in comparison, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), where he held his own with Colin Firth and Gary Oldman – no easy feat.  He possesses the electric gravitas of a young Connery or Finney in this part and hopefully it will distinguish him from other actors of his generation.  

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