A two-hour drive in your car doesn’t seem like it would make for an intense movie experience. Sure you could strap a bomb to the car like in Speed or transport some Coors beer like the Bandit, but a normal car ride answering business and personal phone calls isn’t what you would call a thrill ride. That is unless you get a call that sets in motion the destruction of your entire life. The worst part of all for construction foreman, Ivan Locke in the voyeuristic thriller Locke is he can’t blame an evil mastermind or supernatural forces for his woes. The only person John can blame is himself for his one mistake.

Tom Hardy shows once again how diverse and talented of an actor he is as the unraveling Ivan Locke. He is a good man on the eve of the biggest job of the year who is forced to risk everything to deal with a mistake he made that will have serious consequences moving forward in his life. At first you wonder if you are just going to watch a man take phone calls for 90 minutes on film. Hardy’s intense helplessness and director Steven Knight’s slow burn story telling immediately sucks you in. Rather than have the audience be thrilled by car chases or some silly hostage situation, Locke takes the pressures of everyday life and turns them into the quietest thriller of the year. Think about how stressed you would be if your family, finances and career were flushed down the toilet in a matter of a few phone calls. I think you would refer to it as a volatile situation. Locke does an amazing job at showing how real life can be vigorous and uncomfortable with just conversations.

Tom Hardy carries Locke as he is on-screen for virtually the entire film except for cutaway generic car driving and road sign shots. Locke is not without its low moments that made me scratch my head. Ivan’s conversations about the art of concrete are borderline boring and the sound of the phone ringing even began to annoy me after five phone calls in a row. Also, without spoiling too much, Locke’s conversations with his father during his trip become quite ridiculous at times. Still, Hardy’s performance and the fact director Steven Knight turned a regular car ride into gripping tale of true-life drama makes Locke one of the most unusual and simple films all year.

Overall, I give Locke 3 out of 4 stars.

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