[LOCKE opens Friday May 16th in Cleveland exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]
Review by Pamela Zoslov
It takes a very fine actor to make this limited setting work, and
Knight has that in Hardy, whose portrayal of a man struggling to do
what he believes is right is enthralling. Locke's trip, we
learn, is the result of a past indiscretion in London. and his sudden
departure means he'll miss the pouring of the foundation of his
latest building, a critical task he must now leave in the hands of
his young Irish employee, Donal (the voice of Andrew Scott). Locke's job is
at risk, and so is his family life, as he makes a difficult
disclosure to his wife, Katrina (voice of Ruth Wilson), who's been
waiting for him to come home and watch a football match with their
As he drives into the night, Locke also talks with his dead father, a reckless
wastrel who's the reason Locke is risking all to do the right thing.
“Unlike you,” Locke says to his dad, simmering with low-level
rage, “I will be there to take care of my fuckup.” Locke
is a man for whom duty is everything, and his point of view is
unfailingly pragmatic, even as in the face of personal catastrophe.
His speech is dotted with phrases like “I have no choice,” “No
matter what the situation is, you can make it good,” “I have made
my decision,” “I will do what has to be done.” Hardy employs a
persuasive Northern accent that tells a lot about this practical
fellow who's succeeded in the manual trades.
Locke's machinations to ensure that all is in place for tomorrow's concrete
pour, even after his boss gives him the sack, show his unflagging dedication to work, which he believes makes him a good man. His
wife, however, feels differently. She realizes, to her dismay, that
as their family disintegrates over the phone, Locke is at the same
time making calls about work. It confirms what she already knew.
“You're more in love with your buildings, anyway.” The
screenplay, and Hardy's arresting performance, emphasize the story's moral complexity. Locke is an eminently reasonable man who is paying the price for a long-ago moment of human sympathy. His wife is enraged by his apparent coldness. Reason and emotion are continuously at war within him.
The drama, based as it is on voices, could easily work as a radio
play, but the film excels visually as well. Haris Zambarloukos'
nocturnal road cinematography is a subtle symphony of colored lights,
mirror reflections, double exposures and, at one point, a row of headlights
dancing like winged angels. Dickon Hinchliffe's excellent score
provides the appropriate intensity. 4 out of 4 stars.