This week, the New York Film Critics Series showcased “Locke” a film directed by Steven Knight. The cast list is minimal, with only one character shown in the entire film. After seeing All is Lost (Robert Redford) at the Cannes Film Festival, I wasn’t sure I was ready to give another one-man film a shot, but a historical love of Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior) locked me in, no pun intended, to give it a shot.
Locke is a story of dedication; to his job, to his family, and even to his mistakes. What seems like a simple decision at the beginning of the film turns out to change the course of everything that matters to him in a drive from Birmingham to London. Locke’s life collapses in a matter of hours, but he fights his battles simultaneously and pays consequences as they arrive. Each situation, which comes from multiple directions, intertwines itself into a larger story with the anxiety of a call waiting tone or a missed phone call. His decisions, which are made fast but with contemplation and poise, are seemingly based upon a series of events from his childhood that he hasn’t let go.
Visually, you would not expect 85 minutes in a single vehicle to suffice as good entertainment; at times, it felt like the film was an extended infomercial for a new BMW car or the Bluetooth capabilities that enabled the entire film’s dialogue. While many will recall the obscene lack of depth seen in “Open Water”, the single-location cinematography seen here is much-improved and highly complimented. Steven Knight uses a strong script and fascinating storyboard to keep the audience interested and concerned, although I could probably draw the interior of his car by memory now
Locke wasn’t made for Hollywood and the millions of viewers out there that see every superhero or vampire movie. It captures a very unique story in which the viewer must decide what kind of man they are spending their time with. The suspenseful themes will keep you involved through the entire film, but you can not expect a resolution or solution in any matter. It’s unique format and thoughtful cinematography makes it worth a watch.