Ivan Locke and his car.
These are the main characters in Stephen Knight’s new drama Locke.
The movie is set entirely inside Ivan’s car on a journey somewhere after work one night. There is no horror he is racing towards or from, no aliens planning to abduct him and no dragon flying in the skies.
This is a straight up human drama and thus a movie genre I have little history with, I am though, a
fan of Tom Hardy, and that is what drew me towards this film, after seeing him in Bronson I came to
learn that he can do character very well and hold a screen.
The viewer is basically a fly on the car window of Ivan’s life very slowly falling to pieces, told purely
through phone calls with his wife, kids and work colleagues. This is really as much as I can write
without spoiling the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet then I suggest you stop reading NOW. This
is definitely a movie you need to experience with Ivan. Then come back and see if you agree with my
Ivan Locke is a concrete specialist, a foreman of sorts that manages the pouring of concrete for
new buildings. A very structured job with a step by step process and an end result that creates something new from his meticulous planning. Ivan loves concrete, throughout the journey he talks about it as if it is a living breathing being that he owes a debt to.
We also learn that the morning following this night, Ivan is to be managing the largest and most expensive concrete pour in European history, so no pressure, you know, this is why his colleagues go bat-shit crazy when he phones to inform them that he will not be there.
Why? Because at a meeting 7 months previous he got drunk and took pity on a woman and slept with her, she of course became pregnant. Oh and by the way, Ivan is married with two kids. The pregnant mistake is currently in labor and he is rushing to the hospital to be there for the birth.
Let me recap.
In 10 Hours time Ivan is meant to be at the most important concrete pour of his life.
He promised to be home this evening to watch the football match with his wife and two teenaged sons.
A woman he cheated with is currently in labor with his child.
But the traffic is good.
The rest of the movie plays out with Ivan juggling all of these problems together while still making
his way to the birth of his unwanted child. He decides to guide his second in command through the concrete pour over the phone, even after being fired. He breaks the news, about his infidelity, to his wife while having to keep strong when his sons answer the phone.
This movie is a panic attack, plain and simple. The anxiety just ramps and ramps and ramps.
Then add in to the mix Ivan’s dead father, who was, as much as we are told, a bastard, and we start to learn that Locke works in concrete because it fixes things and gives things solid foundations which as a child he did not have. He is rushing to be there for the baby because his dad wasn’t there for him and the battle of Ivan Locke not turning into his father also starts to play out in the front seat of
The main feeling I got from this film being a relative virgin to pure drama came from the final shot
where the camera pulls away to pan over a city. We see many, many cars driving about and I believe this movie is about how we, a lot of the time, forget the humanity of people and that in every single one of those cars this huge life altering drama could be playing out.
I’m not sure if that was what the director was going for but hey, I loved the film and can’t wait to
watch it again.