Cosmopolis (2012) (for whom Knight wrote the screenplay for 2007's Eastern Promises), another film about a man facing fantastic loss during a car ride, Locke is not a drama overflowing with the abstract. It's not a talkie where characters discuss economic theory. It's a work of emotions rather than ideas, though there are plenty of questions being asked both by the characters and implicitly by the film. Ivan wrestles with questions about himself and his relationships. Is he doing the right thing? Is it worth risking the family he has for the family he didn't want? Even as he scrambles to ensure that things remain on track at the building site and at home, is he deluding himself that things might work out? Knight's latest doesn't offer many answers, and neither should it.
All that really matters is that our man has made his decision and is doing his best to manage the consequences. Knight's ability to deftly manage the flow of a real drama (not quite in real-time, but very close to it; a football match taking place simultaneously to the journey provides occasional markers for how much time is passing) from a single location is exceptional and, together with Hardy, Knight has created one of the best characters of the year in Ivan. Even when delivering monologues at an empty backseat to a long-dead absent father, Hardy gives a wonderful performance marked by a calmness and stoicism which is not often conducive to gripping cinema but here works wonders. Locke is an unusual piece. It was even a minor UK box office success during its theatrical run, showing that audiences are willing to embrace the unorthodox on occasion. Locke is a film worth taking a risk on.
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