Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)
Steven Knight’s thriller Locke involves two of my biggest fears. Driving and speaking on the phone. AT THE SAME TIME! It can’t get much more intense than that. And the phone just keeps ringing! It’s my worst nightmare. As far as story goes, you’re better off not knowing much about what transpires, so all I’ll say is this: it’s about a man in his car on the phone. For the whole film. It may sound a tad boring, but it is incredibly compelling. I was not bored for a second, and it just goes to show what brilliant movies can be made on a small budget. I choose story over *BOOM BOOM POW* any day.
Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke is the only actor shown on screen, with the rest literally phoning in their performances as the various characters on the other end. I could’ve sworn one of them was Chris O’Dowd but I was wrong, as the credits listed Andrew Scott. Tom Hardy was extremely impressive as the morally complex titular character, especially because he used another accent, however this bewildered me. I assumed he was supposed to be South African, my boyfriend thought he was German, but apparently he was meant to be Welsh. I don’t understand why it was necessary for him to have a different accent at all, seeing as it was set in England, his family were English, and Hardy is English. Why wouldn’t Hardy just use his normal voice? I wondered if the entire point was just to show off that he could do another accent (though the internet tells me it wasn’t actually even that good). A puzzlement indeed.
You might assume that Locke would be visually uninspiring, but there was some amazing cinematography on offer here. The use of light and reflection by Haris Zambarloukos was mesmerising. Dickon Hinchliffe’s score was very effective, building to a thrilling degree in the high pressure moments. Beyond these technical aspects, however, Locke is ultimately all about the script. Without going into details, Locke’s moral dilemma is a fascinating one. His motive is made clear and his decision is understandable, but on the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking he was a bit of a dick for making it. Locke has the potential to open up plentiful discussion about family commitment and responsibility, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t need CGI to stay entertained. Even without any big car chases, it is a thrilling ride.
4.5 stars (and again, only at one cinema in Melbourne – URGH!)