Locke (2014)

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Two words I learned tonight: Fuck Chicago!” said Ivan Locke.



A solid performance by a man portrayed by Tom Hardy in a BMW with call connectivity receiving dozens of phone calls, that’s all that happens in Locke, a well-experimented road drama written and directed by brilliant Steven Knight. The titular name refers to Ivan Locke—the only character to appear in person during the 85-minute duration—portrayed by charismatic Tom Hardy; while, the whole movie is about a night to remember for him, specifically, a night where choices become his only friend.

So, there goes Ivan Locke, a well-trusted construction builder, who has paved the amazing career for himself; returning home for a most anticipated football match with his wife and his two sons, preparing for the most awaited daylight career uplift in his life. Two great things await this luckiest man in a once-in-a-lifetime eve. Yes, it seems to happen only in a one-in-a-lifetime eve, just before a phone call changes everything.

Look how easy a single phone call twists someone’s fate! And look how easy someone’s just talking through a phone to illustrate this catastrophe! Ivan changes his direction away from everything he knew—his family, his job, his true life; as he decides to go somewhere in London, accompanying his mistress, who’s going to deliver his baby. So, who’s Ivan actually? A cheater, just that? Not that simple; seemingly, the affair was a bit of spontaneity (a result of someone’s feeling lonely he confesses), yet the girl wanted to keep the baby, and what can Ivan do? It’s a depth of morality there awaiting to proclaim.

The problem is, M6 is a long way to go while there’s no time left anymore for Ivan (before his “other” son’s birth); he can’t just turn around anywhere if anything bad happens back behind. So, there’s no possibility for Ivan to get off of his car. That’s what makes everything possible: LOGIC. Ivan can only talk from his integrated phone. Yet, he never knows that this is gonna be a helluva night for him—too many woes to take alone in a single night. AHEAD: his mistress is uneasy about the delivery, and there’s no more time. BEHIND: his family’s acceptance for his decision is poor; while the construction he left turns into a hell. He alone must deal with such perplexity via phone and nothing else.

I love how complicated all these matters are depicted with a singular simplicity. There’s no one around, just Tom Hardy portraying Ivan Locke with cold; and only his facial expressions as well as his gestures tell us how awry the situation. Director Steven Knight only helps Hardy with nuance and atmosphere, the rest is his solid performance—so emotional, so sympathetic.

The conflicts are presented just fine in words and milieu; although it’s observable how the depth and layers of those conflicts sustain each other—creating a dead-end dilemma for the protagonist (is he?). Questions floating immediately, asking how everything’s going prior to the depicted moment or in aftermath of it. The movie doesn’t provide any answer to it and I hate this situation; it’s not that I’m too demanding, but given the view of British streets and people talking all the time in a moment only, I also need to observe how our Ivan’s relations to other characters, if I can’t, then, how can I know if he’s being honest to his character?

After all, Tom Hardy’s performance is in his top class (just like what his super singularity in Bronson), even we can only observe his facial expressions and his gestures—without actions and stuffs. I don’t see character is the main point of Locke; it’s the presentation of the conflicts that matter. In the end, Locke is still a compelling story, it’s a working experiment.

Locke (2014)

Drama Written & Directed by: Steven Knight Starred by: Tom Hardy Running Time: 85 mins Rated R for language throughout.

IMDb | Official Site

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