Locke takes place entirely in a car. In a swift 84 minutes, we follow Locke, played by Tom Hardy, as he takes phone calls and navigates the English highway. He's a successful engineer with a loving family. He's about to begin a major project. Unfortunately, Locke's night of reckoning has arrived due to one major mistake he made. Now he's in an impossible situation. As a study of the everyman in crisis, Locke stands out as one of the unique achievements of 2014.
Hardy does a great job in a demanding role. Subtle gestures tell us he's a decent man desperately trying to hold his life together. On a stressful car ride to London, he takes a non-stop flurry of phone calls from his family and co-workers. The tension never lets up.
Some may dismiss Locke as a radio play disguised as a film. Granted, Locke would make for a great radio play. But the virtuoso cinematography of Haris Zambarloukos creates atmosphere, movement, and the isolation of driving alone. There's not a dull moment.
Many great films work well within enclosed spaces such as My Dinner With Andre and 12 Angry Men. Spielberg's Duel also comes to mind, the one where the motorist is pursued by an evil truck driver. Locke inverts the scenario as the protagonist must resolve an internal conflict. Highly recommended.