Critic Consensus: A one-man show set in a single confined location, Locke demands a powerful performance -- and gets it from a never-more-compelling Tom Hardy.
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Critic Reviews for Locke
[Hardy's performance is] the reason you'd see Locke, and the reason you may remember it fondly, long after the ride ends.
Yes, it sounds like a gimmick. But Tom Hardy is so compelling, multilayered and terrific in the title role, this one-man show is never dull.
As you'd expect from a story that never leaves the confines of a car, Locke is intense and claustrophobic.
Hardy makes for a compelling psychological tour guide, utilizing much more than his right foot to add forward momentum.
For the most part, it works like gangbusters.
Audience Reviews for Locke
A strong character study with a fantastic performance by Tom Hardy, despite the excess of exposition and a director who doesn't seem to trust his own capacity to keep us involved with a minimalist story and so tries everything to create a sense of movement with his restless camera.
Despite appearing in many films beforehand, I think it's fair to say that Tom Hardy's breakout role was in Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson in 2009. Many (myself included) were instantly struck by his bravery and his ability to inhabit such an intense role. In that film he threw everything at us and since then he hasn't looked back. What's most encouraging, though, is that he isn't afraid to spread his talents. He's already done Hollywood: The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior and Inception, to name a few, but it's in this small independent project that Hardy delivers some career best work. Successful construction manager, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a man of principals and a dedicated father and husband. However, on the eve of the biggest deal of his career he receives a phone call which forces him to assess some choices he has made in life and sets forth a series of (e)motions that threaten to undo everything he has been dedicated to. Locke has a very simple premise. So simple, it would lead you to believe that it's a very dull and uninteresting affair. It basically consists of spending 1hr 25mins stuck in a car with a man who does nothing more than talk to people on his hands-free device while driving from Birmingham to London and talking through his personal problems. However, it's anything but dull. In fact, the very simplicity of writer/director Steven Knight's approach is what makes the film so compelling. Hardy talks a lot. A lot about his work in concrete; building development and laying foundations but the real development and foundations are built from his emotionally charged character. Set entirely within the confines of his moving vehicle, the real driving force behind the narrative is the dialogue. It methodically peels back the layers of one man's quest to right a wrong in his life and Hardy's expressive mannerisms completely own the screen. Granted, he's the only person who actually appears onscreen (Olivia Colman et al literally phone in their roles) but that's not to take away from his exceptional and spellbinding performance. For a film that's constantly on the move, it's actually deeply rooted in character development. Ivan's goals, achievements and morals are teased out with every conversation he's involved in and Hardy's emotion and nuance lends a captivating intensity to the overall mood and atmosphere. A claustrophobic chamber piece that defies the big spending studios by delivering something personal and intimate without digging too deeply into it's pockets. It's more like a one-man play than a film and a great example of how less can be more. Mark Walker
It surely is a one-trick pony that manages to be elevated by the superb performance of Hardy alone.
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