Day 116: Locke (July, 3)

Joe, my dear filmmaker friend, told me about Locke on Thursday, and I couldn't wait to see it. According to him, it was a suspenseful movie with only one character inside his car during a long drive. The main point was that, despite this simple setting, he couldn't get his eyes from the screen until the end. Of course that I was curious, then. 

My heart was pounding so fast in the film's 85 minutes that I thought I would have a heart attack before the ending, along with Ivan Locke, magisterially played by Tom Hardy. And the odd thing is that what is so nerve-wracking is nothing more than the ordinary predicament of a men has to choose what it is better to do. There's no explosions, aliens, super powers, evil spirits, bandits or anything else. It is just he and life, and how it seems to enclosure us sometimes.

A man alone with his own choices in front of the world trapped in a car with no other option (made by himself) than to go straight ahead until his destination, even if it is frightfully uncertain. About this matter, I resented a little some of the wide shots of the highway, that took me out from that cloister. I understand this choice, in order to make the film more bearable maybe. But I'd rather stay with Locke in that claustrophobic feeling of loneliness and having no way out. 

The external glimpses from inside the car are something else: like happens to the driver, somethings call our attention, others passed by without noticing. It is one of the smartest things on this movie, and there's many others. 

A long time ago, someone told me that we usually deal with our family's background in two ways: by following the familiar script or denying it. Both, at the end, are the same, because we spend our lives trapped in something from which we desperately try to run away. Locke struggles to do what he considers as the right thing is a way to go against his familiar grain, but he gets deeper and deeper into it instead. 

Even so, I couldn't agree more with him. We can not be nothing else than true to ourselves, it is the only possible way to be, I think. And what is ironic here is that, by doing what he thinks is rightful, he seems to loose everything he has. He sees himself in a perfect life, but what his decisions will show him is that it was also a trap, and that the changes, in spite of its scary features, are necessary to him, and will lead Locke to find himself. Or I hope he will. ]

I was so scared for him, my heart almost exploding. Tom Hardy is amazing here, and we are not able to leave his side for one minute. His Ivan Locke is strong, determined, so sure, frail, pained,  lonely... He can speak in reassurance to others while his own life is falling apart. In doing that, he is always alone, even if surrounded by people that seems to care. What he discovers is that some of them don't. And I would tell him: good riddance. But it is painful, I know. And at the end, what stays strong is what matters most. 

Realising that our heart is finally able to go back to normal, we can finally leave Locke's car quietly, certain that everything will be all right with him, even if dark times are coming for awhile. 

Locke. Directed and written by Steven Knight. With: Tom Hardy, Olivia
Colman, Ruth Wilson
(But wasn't just one person on screen? Wait and see :).
UK/US, 2013, 85 min., Datasat/Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).

PS: Filmmakers are always trying to tell a story in peculiar ways in order to capture the human aspects of their characters and narratives. Some are sheer aesthetic, others are heartfelt, both trying to get closer to life. Locke is like that, and another one that I remember now is Rain (Lluvia, 2001), shot in its majority inside a car, with two characters meeting in weird circumstances. 

PPS: On the comments below, Joe talks about the imdb.com interviews with Steven Knight and Tom Hardy about the process of telling this story. Here I present the link to watch them - it's remarkable how Tom Hardy is different in it from his character, something that only good actors are able to achieve (ok, and a good make-up artist...but it is not the case here). 




  1. Wow Dri, I sincerely have nothing to add, we feel exactly the same about this one, everything I loved about this film is exposed in your blog. It amazes me how deep it goes into dissecting the character of Locke, who's so intricate, but they do it in such a simple way, when it comes to the narrative. Great way to tell a story.
    The interview with the director and Tom Hardy on IMDb is worth the watch, as they talk about the process of shooting it.
    glad you liked this one too :)

    [ j ]

    1. Joe, I'm truly grateful for all the support you've been showing to this dare, how you've been a part of it. I'm also thankful for the amazing movies you have been telling me about, they are outstanding. Short Term 12, Predestination, Mr.Nobody and others. And now Locke <3 Right now, I'm watching it again, lol. Since last night, I was still in the car with Ivan...

    2. My biggest pleasure, Dri! I'm loving to bounce movie suggestions, specially such good ones. It's a two-way street, really. Loved "After the wedding". Madds Mikkelsen is so good in it. When he asks the little boy if he'd like to live with him in Denmark and he says "I don't think so", it broke my heart to seventeen pieces. Really good.

      Last night I watched Bronson, another one with Tom Hardy. Oh my goodness, what a freaking awesome movie!! His acting in it is otherworldly, such commitment to such a crazy character! Directed by that crazy Danish Director who did Drive. A must watch!
      Add to your list, it's on Netflix ;)

      [ j ]

    3. "After the Wedding" is a beautiful surprise for me, and it leaded me to Denish director Susanne Bier's other works. Some of them are not so great, but "In a Better World" is surreal, so good it is. Try it when you can :)

      I'm looking forward to watch Bronson!!!