Friday, August 15, 2014

3+1 Short Paragraphs: Locke

2013, Steven Knight (writer of Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) -- download

Immersed in the movie making world, exposed to all sides of it, actors, cinematographers and writers sometimes become directors. Sometimes it works, sometimes its just a natural extension their ability as story tellers. If ever there was a prime example of how to present a writer's focus, it is Locke. This entire movie takes place in the car of Ivan Locke, as he drives from Birmingham to London to attend something very important to him. All the interaction is via his car phone. Its all dialogue, with a bit of visual play and beautiful cinematography (late night driving bokeh galore) tossed in for good measure, but really, its all Tom Hardy talking. Yep, another small movie that I absolutely loved.

If its important to you to feel all in suspense as to why he is driving, stop reading now. No? OK, Ivan Locke is driving because his child is about to be born. A child conceived after a one night stand with a lonely, likely unstable woman. And Ivan must be there; it is his responsibility. He is leaving behind a construction job that millions of English pounds are sunk into. He is leaving behind a wife and kids expecting him home for the football match. But this is his fuckup and he is going there to be an upstanding fellow, to be there for his child, as his father was never there for him.

Ivan is commendable. He is well spoken, calm and obviously very determined to do the right thing. Even at the expense of his job and family. Even so, he believes he can fix things. He can talk his foreman (Andrew Scott; Moriarty on Sherlock) through the concrete pour, over the phone, and soothe the bosses. He will tell his wife what he has done and why he is not coming home tonight; but he will return in the morning and they will make a practical plan to get past this. He is a man used to explaining difficult things to people and having them understand him. He is not a man who understands that sometimes, intentions be damned, things just fall apart. He definitely doesn't understand that maybe he isn't so commendable, as he is not there for the child, but really there for his own misplaced sense of honour. And a neurotic fixation on his own father's failings.

All of this is portrayed excruciatingly well by Tom Hardy, who leaves behind a dozen other defined characters for this small man. He talks, a faint accent and a determined voice, occasionally wiping his nose or chatting with the phantom in the back seat. He cracks, ever so slightly, as things normally under his control slide a little. His voice changes, he begins to swear, he begins to lose control. A writer now director with a wonderful actor give us all we need to understand a man who is changing due to one fateful act.