7 hours ago
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
There's only the one on-screen character and soon after the start he is driving for the entire time in this admirably concise 85 min film. Some have said that it wasn't as involving as it ought to have been, though I was totally engrossed.
In this film by director/writer Steven Knight (previous writing includes the high standard 'Dirty Pretty Things') the ever-dependable Tom Hardy is construction manager Ivan Locke travelling from his workplace in Birmingham to London in order to be with a woman at a crisis and to whom he feels he owes his presence, this despite the fact that he's needed at work in a few hours where there's to be an epic-scale, multi-lorry delivery of cement mix and where his attendance is absolutely crucial. Added to this, his wife and two sons are eagerly expecting him home, particularly this evening. The film shows his juggling with these three allegiances through a hands-free phone and trying, with great difficulty, to smooth the reactions of utter disbelief and horror from his work colleagues and wife when he reveals that he won't be with them. All the attention is on the behind-the wheel Locke and his mental struggles and frustration, while the woman in London (of whom his wife did not know anything) also keeps ringing him to plead his attendance. It's gripping drama. I didn't look at my watch once.
I've just two cavils about this film, neither of them too serious. The first is that his occasional talking to an invisible and silent hallucinatory figure of his late father sitting in a back seat of the car doesn't quite work as well as the phone calls, perhaps because he's essentially talking to himself, whereas on the phone it's obviously all dialogues. But these occasions aren't many and none of them are extended. And they do give a kind of context to the situation he finds himself in.
Then also, I'm not quite sure why it was decided to make the film in widescreen. I think a screen of regular, 'normal' ratio might have worked better, highlighting the claustrophobic aspect of being in the enclosed and inescapable space of a car the whole time. (There are just occasional glimpses of other motorway traffic).
I might add that by the end of the film not all threads have been tied up. The film takes place, more or less, in 'real time' or near enough - and anyway, life is never such that clear-cut endings all occur simultaneously.
All in all a fine, satisfying achievement...................8