FILM THOUGHTS: LOCKE

locke_movie_posterI agree with the critics.

“[Hardy’s performance is] the reason you’d see Locke, and the reason you may remember it fondly, long after the ride ends.” – Time Magazine

“Yes, it sounds like a gimmick. But Tom Hardy is so compelling, multilayered and terrific in the title role, this one-man show is never dull.” – New York Daily News

“The spare scenario may not sound inspiring, but Locke’s attempts to keep his life from unraveling during a series of telephone calls make for a suspenseful and impressive experience.” – Daily Mirror UK

This sparse, tense film hits on every level – Hardy’s “Ivan Locke” is as nuanced and compelling as a protagonist can be; both the score and cinematography maintain a taut, cringing expectation from scene 1; and the themes presented are universally understood and feared.

I’m not surprised people enjoyed Locke. I’m more interested in WHY.

The draw isn’t Hardy’s fantastic acting or even the well-paced story points. The beauty of Locke is that all of those elements orbit a bigger, more central aspect of daily life: voices in your head.

We’re reachable 24/7. We’re always running late. We’re surrounded by stuff and stimuli and circumstance. And yet, in that car…we’re alone. Even if we’re tuned to talk radio or have podcasts plugged into our ears, we can’t get away from our thoughts. No matter how loud the music or fast the freeway, these are the moments where we feel the pressure to face down what’s speaking loudest in our heads. Like Ivan Locke, we’ve all gone to war with ourselves during a long, terrible drive.

When you read critics talking about how “universal” Locke is, this is what they’re trying to say. Ivan Locke is a man at war with lots of things and we can’t look away. Would we risk everything Ivan risks just to make the moral choice?

________

*It shouldn’t be lost on us that all of Locke’s phone calls happen over speakerphone. The filmmaker could have just as easily let us hear the audio while Ivan has a phone pressed to his ear. Even in so many dialogues, Locke is always alone.

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