Tom Hardy has had a very interesting career so far. For years he showed up as a supporting player in large ensembles (such as Daniel Craig’s breakout film, Layer Cake). However, a critically acclaimed performance in the little seen Bronson allowed him to get roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless, all of which have revealed him to be an actor of some talent. Unfortunately, we have since been forced to wait almost two years for the release of Hardy’s next film (due to filmmaking and studio issues on almost all of his upcoming films). Well, the wait was well worth it as, in Locke, Tom Hardy delivers the performance of his career.
Locke follows Tom Hardy’s Ivan Locke as he is traveling to an unknown destination despite having multiple problems to deal with en route. The film takes place entirely in a car with only Tom Hardy ever being shown on screen. While this format is ultimately a gimmick, director and writer Steven Knight (the screenwriter of Eastern Promises) makes sure that it is executed perfectly and is used to fantastic effect. This film really shouldn’t work at all, but in Knight and Hardy’s hands it is one of the most intense experiences you will have with a film this year despite no ones lives being in mortal danger.
Even with this clearly being a director/actor film there are still moments where Knight’s screenplay is able to shine through. The film can be quite Shakespearean at times with grandiose monologues and depictions of how one generation can affect the next one. All of this allows Tom Hardy to be able to act in a loud and big manner (which he is quite effective at doing) while still being able to add in some subtleties that make the performance all the greater.
My only complaint is that, like many recent films that have time being a major factor of the plot, you never get a sense of the time passing in this film. At times it seems like the film is supposed to take place in real time. Yet others it seems like we skipped ten or twenty minutes in Locke’s life. This seems quite minor but it can be off-putting for a second or two, and that makes a difference in a film that is otherwise perfect.
Locke is a well-crafted thriller that gives a big showcase for rising star Tom Hardy.