A Locke for a satisfying film experience | Reviews | Creative Loafing Charlotte
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A Locke for a satisfying film experience 

Rating: ***

DIRECTED BY Steven Knight
STARS Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson

Tom Hardy in Locke. (Photo: A24)
  • Tom Hardy in Locke. (Photo: A24)

Adapting such films as The Lion King, Titanic and Ghost for the stage took some mental gymnastics, but if anyone ever elects to do likewise with Locke, the task won't be nearly as taxing. Basically a one-man show set within the confines of a BMW, Locke is the latest from writer-director Steven Knight, whose past credits (both as scripter only) include Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things (for which he earned a Best Original Screenplay nomination). Knight clearly has a knack for coming up with unique angles for his stories, and this one's no exception.

In the central role of Ivan Locke, Tom Hardy is the only performer who merits screen time. A Welsh construction manager who has just left his work site late at night, Locke is driving to London for a reason I won't reveal here. Suffice it to say, it's a reason that threatens to destroy everything important he has achieved in his life, from his job to his seemingly stable home life with his wife and two sons. As Locke drives as fast as he can (but ever mindful of the speed limit), he spends much of the time on the phone, whether to his spouse (voiced by Ruth Wilson), his second-in-command (Andrew Scott) or various other important people.

Locke runs an efficient 85 minutes, and it's a testament to Knight's skills that we feel we learn a lot about the characters in what out of necessity are pretty broad brushstrokes. The contributions of cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos and editor Justine Wright are also invaluable, yet it's Hardy who looks to benefit the most from this. Already an acclaimed actor thanks to the likes of Bronson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Dark Knight Rises (where he of course played Bane), his stock should only rise thanks to his tightly controlled performance in this minimalist movie experience.

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