Ivan Locke is a foreman about to complete the biggest building project of his life. Being responsible for the concrete that is due to be poured into the foundations, he cannot afford to be absent. However, Locke takes a decision that will not only change his life, but define him as a person. Locke is a happily married man with two sons, but following a one-time affair he is due to become a father again. He makes the decision to abandon the site on the eve of the foundations being set and travel south to London where the woman is giving birth.
Tom Hardy is incredible in the central role of Ivan Locke, an everyman figure who must deal with several stressful circumstances. The whole film takes place with only Locke in the car, with other characters calling him via the car-phone and we hear only their voices. Hardy gives a nuanced and emotional performance as he tries to do the right thing in an impossible situation. Each moment of trauma is written on his face and we have an unflinching look at the torment he is suffering. The other actors, Olivia Coleman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott and Tom Holland also deliver great voice performances and the whole cast work to make the entire thing believable. With the combination of the claustrophobic location and exceptional performances of the disembodied voices and Tom Hardy you really begin to feel the stress of what Locke is experiencing. A unique take on the thriller genre the film strips back conventional story techniques to create a tense journey. The direction utilises reflections in the glass, shots of the motorway at night, complete with police cars, traffic, and the passing cities. There are a number of visual metaphors, car indicators, traffic lights, sirens, and the journey itself, that are made potent by their subtlety.
An incredible film that manages to hold your attention with an exceptional performance by Hardy, some great writing, and a unique style.