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LOCKE // Following in the footsteps of a film like “Buried”, which was shot entirely in one location with only one actor ever present on screen, “Locke” takes its single character show on the road. Starring Tom Hardy and an extensive voice cast, this simple idea sees character Ivan Locke (Hardy) taking a two hour long night drive from work to London all while a series of life changing events take place in the form of cell phone conversations. With several cameras fixed on Hardy as he drives, he literally carries the entire film, which is no small feat. Able to project intense, complex emotions all while never leaving the driver’s seat of his car, Hardy’s acting prowess is on full display in one of his most impressive performances yet. Covering topics of infidelity, the differences between people’s moral compasses, and finishing what one started, “Locke” does not simply rely on its out-of-the-box cinematic qualities. Instead, it delivers a meaningful character study with so much depth that it does not matter that you never steer away from the one location. In fact, having the protagonist start and attempt to put out fires without actually facing those involved produces such an imaginative effect that if the other characters were even shown in a simple split-screen, an element of mystery and depth would have been completely lost. Also allowing for a feeling of helplessness that will have you begging for him to turn around and go back, “Locke” is one of the most expertly executed character studies I have ever witnessed. The only thing that could have made this one of the best films ever made is if, somehow, they could have shot the entire film in one take. But continuing the impressive career of Tom Hardy, “Locke” places him on the very small list of actors that can carry an entire concept completely on his own.

[Directed by Steven Knight] [R] [85 min] [18 April 2014]    09fourhalf-stars

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