Locke, film review: Tom Hardy goes on the drive of his life

(15) Steven Knight, 85 mins Starring: Tom Hardy Voices of: Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Olivia Colman

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The Independent Culture

Locke is the story of a man desperately trying to "do the right thing", although it will cause his life to come crashing down. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is the manager of a building site. He is first seen finishing work and climbing into his BMW.

Instead of going home to his wife and sons, he heads on to the motorway to London, to be at the hospital where Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman), a 43-year-old woman with whom he had a one-night fling, is about to give birth to his baby.

As he drives, Ivan makes multiple phone calls. He is a calm, practical man who is about to lose everything – his family, his income, his good name. The writer-director Steven Knight's screenplay is on the schematic side.

There is something a bit too tidy in the way Locke's world disintegrates in the course of a 90-minute car journey. Nonetheless, Knight elicits an exceptional performance from Hardy as a man whose extraordinary self-discipline belies his seething inner turmoil and his resentment at the father who abandoned him during his childhood.

There is a forlorn comedy in the way Locke tries to coordinate a delivery of wet concrete at the building site he has just left. If the concrete isn't right, if there is a single flaw, a 55-floor building will crumble.

The film could easily have seemed static and claustrophobic. That it doesn't is due not only to the extraordinary gravitas and pathos Hardy brings to his role but to the unlikely lyricism with which Locke's fraught night-time motorway journey is shot.