Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIFF 2014 Review: LOCKE- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Steven Knight
Written by Steven Knight
Starring: Tom Hardy, Olivia Coleman, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, and Ruth Wilson.
Synopsis: A man deals with his life choices one evening.

You have to be careful how you market a film. Labeling is everything. Not sure why labeling a film simply as "drama" is something that doesn't happen much anymore, but it seems that that genre is not specific enough for people. LOCKE was labeled as a thriller, and its description (a man who gets a phone call that changes the course of his evening while he drives) lent itself to a film in the likes of PHONE BOOTH or BURIED. And to the film's detriment, it doesn't come close to being a "thriller" and ends up being overall forgettable.

The gimmick of LOCKE is that it takes place all in one location with one actor, Tom Hardy in a car driving during a dreary evening. During the first ten minutes, we learn the basic premise of where he's going, why he's heading that way, and the implications of these actions. There's no mystery building or a big reveal. It's just a man dealing with the various choices he has made and how they're effecting his life now.

What saves this film is Tom Hardy's performance as the title character. He's almost unrecognizable in this role. As we learn more and more about his situation, we see the complexities of his character and the internal struggles he has been dealing with. The root of all of his problems stems from his deadbeat father. Locke has serious daddy issues and is living his life so he doesn't end up like his loser father. There's so much subtext that Hardy brings to the screen through his eyes and the emotions on his face.

But his performance doesn't save the film. The story ends up being fairly mundane and forgettable. I couldn't help but think this would play better as a stage play than a movie. The gimmick of all the action taking place in his car gets a little wearisome, though the dreariness of the rainy weather adds to the overall somber tone of the film.

LOCKE tries to be one of those ambitious films, but it ends up just falling a little flat. It might be worth a Netflix watch on idle week night to check out Hardy's performance.

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