The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Brody Rossiter
Simplicity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, whether it’s regarding mental acumen or a physical task, something that is simple obviously requires less of us. However, on the other hand, that which is simple is expected to be easy and effortless, therefore leaving us exposed and open to criticism if we can’t accomplish such a process with ease. Such a scenario often plays out on TV cooking challenge shows whenever a contestant decides to cook eggs Benedict or risotto and celebrity chef judges alert us to the fact that “it’s so simple that it must be perfect”.
Simplicity and film go hand in hand. Art forms in general often embrace simplicity, dressing down and stripping away superfluous elements to let their core shine. When it comes to movies, that “core” is often an acting talent capable of capturing and holding the attention of an audience all by themselves. Locke is one such example of an arresting performance that grasps you by the wrists and doesn’t let go until the very end of its journey – and even then you may still struggle to shake the experience.
On the eve of the most important day of his career and one of Europe’s largest ever days of construction, the man responsible for this project, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), learns that a colleague with whom he had a one-night-stand has gone into premature labour. Ivan decides to sacrifice not only his professional reputation, but also his life as a husband and father, deciding to drive from Birmingham to London to be at the birth – a decision largely due to Ivan’s refusal to forgive his father’s abandonment of him as a child.
From the moment Ivan steps into his BMW, the camera never leaves its confines, treating us to a series of increasingly fraught and powerful phone calls conducted between Ivan (complete with Hardy’s adopted, hypnotic Welsh accent) and important members of his private and professional life. From construction bosses to his wife and children, Ivan must confront and confesses his sins whilst speeding towards the event that will irreparably alter his life. Beyond that premise there lies little more from a narrative standpoint, nevertheless Hardy’s captivating performance speaks volumes, commanding the screen while speeding through an imposing cavalcade of the worst kind of emotions.
Director Stephen Knight toasted this cinematic muffin to perfection, and Tom Hardy most definitely didn’t forget to season and stir. Locke is one of the simplest yet most complex pictures of recent memory, turning a seemingly dull journey into a truly unforgettable ride.