Review: Locke


Director:Steven Knight

Cast:Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels

Running Time:85.00


You would be forgiven for thinking Locke, starring Tom Hardy"”known for kicking ass in films like Bronson, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises"”was another action-packed thriller. It's certainly advertised as one. But it's actually a minimalist rumination on human frailty.

Hardy plays the title character, the only one you'll see onscreen. He's a successful construction foreman who leaves his worksite in Birmingham, England, and then sees his life fall apart in real time. The rest of the cast will only be heard as Locke calls them multiple times on his 85-minute drive to London.

It takes quite a while for Locke to get going and for his life-altering decision to be revealed. Until then, it's a lot of construction jargon. There's almost more discussion about concrete pours and road closure permits than about The Thing That Happened.

But Hardy keeps it compelling throughout, especially when he has conversations with his dead father, which shows just how fragile his psyche really is. The whole film is about Locke trying to stay in control when everything has devolved into chaos. He's juggling a lot of things and when he's on the phone, he remains perfectly calm. But when he hangs up, he's starting to crack.

There's an intimacy to the film, considering we're staying in the car the entire time. I wonder if the film would have worked better as a play, considering Hardy's commands the screen the entire time. Regardless, that's not what keeps it from being an incredible movie. It's that even with its brief running time, Locke gets repetitive. Maybe a short or one-act play would have been the most ideal way for the film to show its power.

Still, you're not going to see anything else like Locke this year. And with the onslaught of action blockbusters on the way, it's a good palate cleanser. As long as you know what you're in for, Locke comes recommended.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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