Locke Review: Paint Drying Is More Interesting Than Cement


Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) directs and writes ‘Locke,’ a one-man show about a man driving from one part of the United Kingdom to another in a 6-day shooting production period. Locke primarily shows that Tom Hardy is capable of maintaining a feature film in his own right as an actor, but one in where the plot sadly does very little to keep things interesting.

The movie of Locke centers on Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) who ends up leaving right before a major construction project the company he works for tries to finish. He is in a rush from Birmingham to London, and the whole film is acted out in a series of real calls done to each of the actors. He calls his co-workers, his wife, and his sons. The film builds on his apparent infidelity and one-night of a mistake due to a failing marriage as some older woman from his office is giving birth. The film focuses entirely on phone calls and Hardy’s acting performance as he drives throughout the night. The progression of the calls end up more and more shocking, and the voice inflections as certain facts are revealed are tense and engaging especially in regards to Locke’s apparent infidelity and the struggle with the man his father never was – done by constant bickering with the driver’s rearview mirror and Locke’s imaginary father. The portions of the plot do fail entirely when the character of Locke constantly talks about “the concrete,” and repeats concrete several times. A majority of the interesting scenes deteriorate in between weird calls to coworkers and a drunken coworker right on the cusp of a major project losing sight of completion.

Locke is a look into how one person’s talent can carry a film, but also how it can fail to carry a film into a greater dimension when given a terrible script. As much star-power in the talent of Tom Hardy is displayed, it cannot make up for the dulling references to concrete and a storyline where not all the phone calls are engaging. A lot of people would rather see paint dry than learn about concrete when watching Locke.

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

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