At the end of work, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) steps into his vehicle onto a path that will change his life over the course of a hour and a half. Immediately Locke and his trusty Bluetooth are set into a series of events that unravel his life, job, and even his family. The interesting aspect of the film is that it all takes place within his vehicle, with nobody but Locke himself.

The premise of Locke drags viewers into watching it, because everyone has received a phone call while driving, but the question of what is it that happens to this construction foreman that’s so devastating? The curiosity runs rampant all throughout this thriller, however the film isn’t gripping enough to be considered suspenseful. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens during these conversations but just like Locke we are just along for the ride heading to where he’s headed. Through his phone calls details become a little more clearer and his actions come off a little surprising at times. Despite only being on screen with Locke for 30 minutes or so, his personality and way he handles things are carved out quite clearly. However this is what’s frustrating about the film, yes what happens with him and his family could be considered devastating, the stakes never feel high enough. Locke handles things so smoothly, nothing feels like it will disrupt his path to his destination. Which is the intended purpose of  Locke coming into acceptance with his mistakes but this method detracts the interest in what’s going to happen next.

Thus leading into further problems with the film. Hitchcock once said “Drama is life with the dull parts left out” which isn’t applicable for this film because it plays out in relatively natural time. If one doesn’t sympathize with Locke’s situation things can become quite dull for a majority of the film. Unfortunate for Tom Hardy, because he gives quite a solid performance. Sadly he isn’t asked to give a powerhouse of a performance because the man can surely provide that, but his charisma makes it worth watching him during this car ride. Hardy breathes life into Locke but one almost wishes he was placed in a completely different situation, or universe, or hell even a different movie! Which is strange because Ivan Locke is just your everyday man that made a mistake, but something about him makes him incredibly interesting. Initially, I was disappointed with Hardy here, but he’s what kept this film from being a complete wreck – no pun intended – One could only imagine what could have gone wrong through the eight days of filming if they miscast Ivan Locke.


The film was shot on the Red Epic, providing beautiful pictures in a mostly lowly lit setting. The cinematography was beautiful throughout but becomes repetitive with the out of focus lights in the background followed by many transition shots of some more out of focus shots. This does look beautiful but completely makes it aware that this is a film in a negative way. Thankfully the dialogue can be interesting at times despite the strange welsh accent that Hardy has here. There is quite a bit of dialogue which can be referred back to the dull parts of life quote, however the first conversation with his wife and when he tries to convince Donal to go on a jog to his follow friends to help with the job; are the only conversations that are worthwhile.

The film is directed by Steven Knight, and is one of the many films distributed by A24 recently; earlier this year Villeneuve’s Enemy, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin were released. All three of these films received a fair amount of approval, but a good amount of mixed emotions as well.  The marketing for these films through the trailers were exceptional. The score that was provided over these stunning images set the mood and gave off all these emotions that one would expect to see from the films. Unfortunately, Enemy was a massive disappointment and Under The Skin, though disappointing and extremely vague; at least managed to provide mesmerizing moments. Which leaves me with Locke, which is clearly set apart from the other two due to the immense dialogue. It’s accomplishes everything it’s aiming for but could have been so much more if it aimed for bigger things instead of simplicity. This can especially be mentioned towards the ending, though it’s some what of an okay way to end the film, you expect to see some kind of pivotal moment that would leave a lasting impression, but like most of the film, Locke doesn’t provide it.

My Rating: My Rating: ★½ / ★★★★★

Dir. Steven Knight
IMDb 7.2/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 88%
Won British Independent Film Award – Sceenplay


“You make one mistake, Donal, one little fucking mistake, and the whole world comes crashing down around you.”