Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Movie review: One-man thriller ‘Locke’ fascinates
Review » Tom Hardy gives mesmerizing solo performance.
First Published May 15 2014 03:44 pm • Last Updated May 17 2014 12:46 pm

The minimalist thriller "Locke" is a cinematic experiment that never feels like an experiment — in that it works both conceptually and as a drama.

The drama focuses on Ivan Locke (played by Tom Hardy), a construction foreman on the eve of the biggest job of his career — a concrete pour that’s billed as one of the largest ever tried in Europe.

At a glance



A construction foreman drives to London, juggling several problems at once via his carphone, in this riveting minimalist thriller.

Where » Broadway Centre Cinemas.

When » Opens Friday, May 16.

Rating » R for language throughout

Running time » 85 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But Ivan is driving away from that job site, 90 minutes to London, where a woman is giving birth to his child. The woman, Bethan, is not his wife, but a lonely woman he met seven months ago on a previous construction project.

On the drive, Ivan must juggle several conversations on his carphone. He must calm Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman), scared and alone in a London hospital. He must inform his bosses that he won’t be overseeing the pour. He must hand off his work duties to his assistant, Donal (voiced by Andrew Scott), making sure he checks every little detail. And he must tell his wife, Katrina (voiced by Ruth Wilson), who is home with their sons, all unaware of Ivan’s infidelity.

Oh, and there’s one more conversation Ivan has in the car: one with his dead father, who he imagines is sitting in the back seat, mocking him. It’s those conversations — as Ivan confronts his father’s abandonment and refuses to do the same to Bethan’s child — that inform every call he makes.

Writer-director Steven Knight confines the action to Ivan’s BMW, creating a claustrophobic tension that should rivet the audience. With every conversation, every mile on the road, he leaves in doubt the future of Ivan’s marriage, the safety of the construction project and even whether Ivan will crash the car before reaching London.

But it’s Hardy who commands our attention on this trip. He has proven himself a chameleon onscreen: a tormented brawler in "Warrior," an implacable villain in "The Dark Knight Rises," a protective moonshiner in "Lawless." Here, using little more than his face and voice, he fashions a fascinating character, driven by a sense of duty — trying to do right by his unborn child — and a determination to follow through, whatever the fallout.

As "Locke" began, I found myself wondering how Knight and Hardy would maintain this one-man performance piece. As it went on, those considerations gave way to a more primal one: What’s going to happen to this guy? That’s an indication of a movie working its magic.


Twitter: @moviecricket

story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.