Movie Reviews

'Locke' Is More Involving Than Recent Hollywood Extravaganzas

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The innovative drama directed by Steven Knight takes place over the course of a tense, riveting car ride. Locke is an exploration of how one decision can lead to the complete collapse of a life.


A new movie called "Locke" lists a dozen actors in its credits, but only one of them appears on screen. Our film critic Kenneth Turan says that's what makes this film special.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Locke" sounds contrived, and it is. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. "Locke" is a real-time drama that takes place inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke, played by Tom Hardy, to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.


TURAN: Locke is not only driving, he is engaged in an almost continuous series of hands-free phone conversations as he desperately attempts to keep the various parts of his life from collapsing. This may not sound like the formula for continuous tension but it is.


TOM HARDY: (as Ivan Locke) This is Ivan Locke.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as character) We have a situation here. You're the man in charge of the entire operation, but you've decided you ain't going to be there.

HARDY: (as Ivan Locke) I'm not going to turn back.

TURAN: That's Locke, normally insistent on doing the right thing, telling his boss he is not going to be around the next day to oversee the biggest job of his career. Locke is abandoning his post to be present at the birth of a baby he is the unwed father of, which greatly upsets his wife and sons.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (as Sean Locke) Hey, dad. Are you coming back?

HARDY: (as Ivan Locke) Sean, something has happened. I need you to hold it together for me. It will be a long night.

TURAN: Writer-director Steven Knight does an expert job filling us in on why the usually conscientious Locke is acting this way. Star Tom Hardy was the villainous Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," and he makes our involvement with Locke's predicament agonizingly total. This film may only have one location but we never want to take our eyes off the screen.


GREENE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for the Los Angeles Times and also for MORNING EDITION.

And you're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.


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