3 out of 10

Release Date: 11th April 2014

Director: Stephen Knight (Hummingbird)

Cast: Tom Hardy

Voice Cast: Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Danny Webb, Alice Lowe, Silas Carson, Kirsty Dillon, Lee Ross with Bill Milner and Tom Holland

Writer: Stephen Knight

Trailer: LOCKE

Unknown-2To be proofread: Don’t believe the hype. Locke is like overtime at work. The gimmick in how to dramatise and make a one man film thrilling is a failure in my book. The film revolves around a series of escalating dramas that descend on Tom Hardy’s (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) titular Mr Locke. Over the course of 90 minutes we witness Locke make or receive a stack of phone calls or talk to the invisible ghost of his father in the back seat of his car. If this race against time involved anything remotely interesting as opposed to situations that could have been avoided if our protagonist was less stubborn or less bloody minded. What we have here is a visually drab soap opera. It’s second hand Home and Away with a dash of work stress thrown in.  In this world of mobile phones and social media it was only a matter of time before we were faced with a film were a character’s whole life is changed remotely, without even having to move from his seat.

Plot one involves a former one-night stand (OLIVIA COLMAN – CUBAN FURY) who is in a London hospital having a baby and whom Locke feels the need to be at the birth and abandon his wife and kids on match night. Plot two involves him stepping away from a massive once in a lifetime job which involves taking delivery of a record load of concrete.  Will he lose his job and be able to save the day remotely over the phone? Do i give a fuck? I work hard enough as it is not have this kind of shit disguising itself as a cinematic drama. A plot cliff hanger dangles off whether or not a civil servant can be reached after hours to open a road. Is life so dull in the UK that we’re making fake thrillers about out of hours phone lines? I think Locke should have done his job and sneakily drove to London the following day – all sorted.  It’s a well-acted waste of 90 minutes.

Then there’s Tom Hardy‘s performance. It’s a strong performance and it needs to be. However, he’s sporting one of the strangest Welsh accents I’ve ever heard and his character isn’t that interesting. Small clues like a registration plate that almost spells ‘adios’ and a Help For Heroes tax disc and wristband on show through out also give us a picture of somebody that supports our soldiers and military stance indicating that he’s a ‘salt of the Earth’ type. He’s just a bit of a bore. Not my idea of a movie hero. A single hander like Locke needed to have more at stake but it’s a small drama blew up into a load of unnecessary histrionics.  Both situations resolve themselves thanks to steady Locke but ultimately I was left bored, cold and irritated by the low stakes storyline. It could have been about anything yet it stays close to home and goes into too much detail on the work side of things. Even the immersive cinematography and motorway locations cannot save this from being a tedious reflection of our own lives – where work concerns masquerade as life-or-death dramas. Concrete? The Chicago Office? A character called Bastard (BEN DANIELS – LUNA) all sent me sleep.

3 out of 10 – Over hyped, low-stakes, flashy soap opera with ambition that tries something different but not different enough.  I suspect ‘writer’s bLOCKE ‘ plagued this tedious Tom Hardy show-off special.



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