“There are two gimmicks I’m always happy to see in a film: real time and a one person cast. Locke utilized both. In order for the gimmick to be effective, it has to be well done. Buried is a one man favorite, building a kind of claustrophic suspense unlike anything else. All is Lost literally put me to sleep (I lost a few min in the middle). Real time was what made 24 so riveting, but it also drew much criticism when it was stretched. So how well did Locke fair?

Pretty well I think. Tom Hardy is Ivan Locke, a family man and construction foreman whose life is comfortably put together. Over the course of a 90 min drive to London and a few phone calls in the car, his whole life unravels. You’re just with him in the car as he’s trying to reach his destination while remotely juggling some very fragile pieces he’s tryign to keep in tact.

Hardy, as we’ve all come to know, is a very engaging actor, and the film is quite comfortable in his capable hands. The whole thing plays out with much more suspense and excitement than you would suspect. What I find remarkable, is that a lot of what’s going on is fairly mundane. Locke is an average guy dealing with average guy problems, but when they’re all culminating at the same time, it feels much larger. The real time aspect helps too, because you’re waiting for those follow up calls along with him. Sure, a little bit of the timing felt forced. Would all those calls really fit into that chunk of time, and happen in rapid succession? Maybe, maybe not. There was also a sporting event his kids were keeping him updated on that seemed to be a little short for a full game. Still, the effect worked.

I’m actually kind of amused by how this film was shot. Over the course of a week, Hardy would get in the car with the director and camera crew on hand. They would film thru the entire script. The voice actors were all hanging out in a hotel room and would actually call in and record their conversations. This happened about twice a night for five days. Then it was all pieced together. Unconventional yet obviously the best and most simple approach. And one of the most unique films you could ask for.

Locke – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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