From the time Locke was first announced in Berlin, to its first public screenings here in Venice, much had been kept under wraps about the project. But all was revealed today, and judging by the sustained applause and hoots and hollers for star Tom Hardy, most folks felt it was worth the wait. You could say Locke is about a man in a car, driving from Birmingham to London, while dealing with a series of issues on speaker phone. It would be true, but not accurate. It’s much more than that: part thriller, part psychological study, part family drama – and all with only one actor seen on screen. The movie, however, is not in competition so is not up for the major prizes – which many are lamenting. It next heads to Toronto, where IM Global will be looking to close deals. Its specialty label, Anthem, fully financed the Shoebox Films production and Lionsgate has UK rights.
British director Steven Knight, whose last film, Hummingbird (Redemption in the U.S.), was his feature debut, wrote and directed Locke. His writing credits include Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things, for which he was Oscar nominated in 2004. He said today that prior to writing Locke, he’d been shooting another digital film with a car at night and it looked so good that he “wondered if there was a story you could weave of one man’s journey as he drove down a motorway. I was trying to bring a huge emotion down into a tiny space.” The movie, incidentally, is in real-time.
Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction foreman and concrete expert who leaves his job on the eve of a massive project. When the movie starts, it’s near dusk and he’s settling into a drive in a shiny BMW SUV. After calls to a colleague, his boss, a woman called Bethan, and his wife and sons, the audience starts to understand where he’s headed and why. All 85 minutes of the film are spent in the car with Locke as he makes and receives calls, juggling his own demons and his interactions with the other characters who are voiced by Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Tom Holland and Bill Milner. (more…)