Locke (2013) Movie Review

Now I agree this is a pretty old movie (2013), though I’m honing my skills here plus I’m pretty sure most of you wouldn’t have watched this anyway. So hush!

The first thing you would need to know about Locke is that it takes place in the confines of A CAR! Yup…just one car and the entire 85 minute story is one person on screen, and to keep your fears at bay, I don’t think it was due to the production team cheap-ing out, I believe this was just how the director planned it. 🙂

Locke Poster 2I hope that got your attention. If not, you can stop reading now because the rest of it won’t make any sense.

The story is focused around Ivan Locke (The super versatile Tom Hardy! With movies like RockNRolla, Inception, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Warrior, Lawless, Dark Knight Rises and The Revenant, I KNOW he will win an Oscar pretty soon), a building site manager, who over the past nine years has made his life as secure as the concrete he is in charge of pouring. The movie picks up on the eve of his biggest job, which is also like Europe’s largest ever job of concrete pouring and the movie starts when he enters his car so he can head home.

We follow his car journey from Brighton to Croydon as the world around him is slowly crumbling and he is losing everything. Through conversations on the phone he tries to negotiate an emerging crisis at work with his boss, an evolving domestic situation with his wife and also a discussion with his sons who are desperate to have their dad home to watch the football game.

Locke is a refreshingly short movie and never over stays it’s welcome. The narrative is so constant, that even when Hardy is not in a hands- free phone switchboard mode, we are still hooked, just waiting, watching for what next. Locke provides just as much a character journey as it does a car journey.

The strength of the movie lies in its acting and its writing. Tom Hardy’s taut performance is mesmerizing and more than enough to make you watch the movie. But if that isn’t enough, Stephen Knight (who has written some impressive screenplays: Dirty Pretty Things, Amazing Grace, and Eastern Promises) has also outdone himself with the writing and direction. A movie in a car without any superficial exaggerations (high speed chases, jumping of brides, gunfire, broken roads more than 50 feet in length etc.) and focusing solely on facial expressions and dialogue delivery needs some skill and he has pulled one out of his hat. In short, it’s wonderfully written, wonderfully directed, perfectly acted and definitely one of the better movies I have seen. Filmed in just eight nights and with very low budget, the film is literally a lesson of how unique and quite fantastic minimalist cinema can be.

Locke Still 1Now granted I saw the movie on one of my travels and when you are cooped up on the economy section of a flight for about 4 hours you don’t have too much of an option, however I can honestly say that there was not one moment I can think of where I was looking at my watch or was at all bored.

There have been similar movies and the concept of “shot in one place” isn’t exactly brand new. Phone Booth (Collin Farrell) or Buried (Deadpool, I mean Ryan Reynolds) and even 127 Hours (James Franco) all are made within confines (single location, single actor) but this is where this story writing shows Mr. Knight’s skill. In each of the above mentioned movies, the leads always faces a life v. death option and this is where the difference lies in Locke.

Locke does not face this decision, it is just ‘change’ and THAT is the crux of his story. There’s no bomb on the backseat and he doesn’t need to keep the car at a certain speed. There are no hostages held and there is nothing the lead is running away from. Thus, the director/writer does not try and force the thrill on you and this is where it scores highly according to me. Throw in some fantastic acting by Tom Hardy and what you have is a movie which you could watch on your laptop with your headphones.

It’s obviously not in theaters now and thus I would recommend you to try and find someone, who has this movie and get settled in for what I can best describe as a soft thriller.



  1. Sangeeth says:

    Fantastic movie! Tom Hardy just awesome! But the way it is directed is amazing! Don’t miss this one!


  2. Rasik says:

    This film got me to respect Tom Hardy as an actor hell of a lot more. The film had me hooked right through out. Thrilling stuff! Good point you made about the difference between Locke and other films that happen within the confines of a single location.


  3. Ashwin Mazdur says:

    I had watched this at MAMI film fest, strangely despite Reliance this film did not release in India. Taut and engaging,as you mentioned minimalist can be fun if done on right way.


  4. Nice review. Loved watching this film though its been a while since I saw it. Agree with your opinion on the things that separate Locke and other films that take place in a single location. Though the other films you mentioned such as Buried & Phone Booth are equally gripping. As you rightly mentioned, Locke is great example of how effective minimalist cinema can be if done well. And yes Tom Hardy has continued to surprise and impress me with every outing of his.


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