So, if you told me a movie about a guy in a car trying to get a cement foundation poured within the next twenty four hours would be a super compelling watch? I would have walked away thinking you were nuts.
And yet, somehow, Director Steven Knight manages to make a car ride with only Tom Hardy very tense and powerful.
Usually, with a gimmick where you have one guy in a car for the entire film, there is a plot like he is being forced to commit some terrible act by some shadowy figure. But here, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is simply a guy trying to solve two problems. He is trying to be responsible for his actions, and make sure his business is successful. Locke is a dedicated family man and construction manager who gets a call that forces him to confront a choice he made months before.
What we get as the viewer is Tom Hardy in a car. A lesser actor might have screwed this up. But his unraveling life is fully punctuated by Hardy’s quiet performance. Locke constantly tries to speak calmly to everyone, attempting to fix his errors, even as they tend to escalate. The performance is terrific.
I was fully drawn in to this story, and the gimmick really works. We are isolated with Locke in his car, and the only access to the world outside him is through his phone. We never see any of the people he is speaking with, and it is an effective move on Knight’s part. This is a terrifically executed film that deserves far more recognition than it has gotten.