LOCKE [2013] movie review

August 22, 2014 · Print This Article

I heard about LOCKE [2013] on the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast and did not listen long as to not want to hear too much about the movie because the premise alone had me interested. This movie can easily be described one man in a car (BMW X5 to be exact) the entire time talking hands-free on the phone to five different people. Obviously this is a dialogue driven movie especially since he is driving at night and there is no scenery to be scene at all.

Ivan Locke is not actually driving the entire movie, he walks from his worksite into his car in the opening frames. It seems he is making the long 1.5 hour drive in just his socks as I did not see him put shoes on after taking his work boots off . . . dangerous! It takes a few minutes to get used to his accent, which I think is harder to understand in the beginning because of him working through some congestion in his voice, and to understand who he is talking to and about what. Soon though five distinct characters can be identified by voice, though we always see their names come up on the nav screen on the dash. It was confusing at first to see “calling Bethan” for example, but it was actually an incoming call, not him calling that person. British English difference accounts for that, but it bothered me I never saw him dial yet the screen showed “calling.”

This movie is perhaps simultaneously the best example of why no one should ever talk on the phone while driving and also how critical it has become that one is able to talk on the phone while driving. Locke is having no small conversations with anyone, except perhaps his sons who he is evasive with. For talking with the others, the situations could not be more serious. It is no spoiler to say his life changes completely over the course of these 1.5 hours of conversations.

Locke works in concrete and we learn a bit about the ins and out of pouring the concrete base to a skyscraper. It seems Locke actually loves concrete itself in an obsessive way, more than it seems he loves any of the people he talks to. He also talks to an imaginary person in the backseat which seems very out of character for him.

For a movie based upon a gimmick, it works very well and is not overly repetitive. A lot of credit should go to Tom Hardy playing Locke for using his voice and the limited body movements available to him from behind the wheel for expressing a full character that the viewer can easily become interested in. One funny thing I noted in the credits was that a costume designer was credited, this had to be the easiest movie in history for a costume designer!


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