Saturday, January 31, 2015

Locke Review

This is a very unique review for me. Very rarely do I actually write a review for a movie that I first saw after it had been released on DVD. I don't exactly have a reasoning for that other than I just like to review current movies in theaters as close to opening weekend as possible, preferably on opening weekend. However, I'm going against that because I'm reviewing this movie called Locke that came out last April that I saw the other week on Amazon Prime. This is a movie that went completely under my radar. I didn't see any advertisements or trailers. I did not hear of it when it came to theaters. It even left theaters without me even realizing it existed. Looking back, this is mostly because it was only released in 121 theaters at its max. However, what brought this to my attention was some very soft Oscar buzz for Tom Hardy in this role. This wasn't even close to actually happening, but since I like Tom Hardy as an actor, I gave the movie a shot when I saw it on my Amazon Prime earlier in the month. And holy cow, I was totally captivated by this movie. In fact, I liked it so much that I decided a review needs to happen in hopes that I can convince at least one additional person to give this movie a shot, especially since it's on Amazon Prime.

Locke is about a man named Ivan Locke and man does he have himself in quite the conundrum. He works as a manager of some sort of construction business and their team is about to do one of the biggest concrete pourings of their business. He kind of needs to be there. He is also happily married with an older kid and he has promised them that he will be home to watch the big game with them. Not too bad, right? Well, what throws a huge wrench into the situation is that lets say approximately nine months ago he messed up big time and slept with another lady. He feels terrible about this. He doesn't love her, he claims. He just messed up and now she is in the hospital having his child. So what does he do? He makes the decision that he needs to be with this woman for this birth. So with his job and his relationship with his family on the line, he drives to the hospital while trying to work things out with everyone else.

On that premise alone, I think this would be an interesting movie. Perhaps the movie could show some of the back story. It could show his co-workers. It could show the lady at the hospital and his family at home while showing what Ivan Locke does. But what makes this absolutely brilliant is that it shows none of this. The whole movie, every second of the 85 minute run time, is Tom Hardy in his car driving on the freeway at night. That's it. Tom Hardy is the only actor we physically see in screen and all he's doing is sitting in his car driving. How does the story unfold like this? Simple. Tom Hardy makes a bunch of phone calls while he's driving and since he uses his bluetooth, we hear all the conversations on the speaker of the car. That's how we get our story. Looking at reviews, this movie definitely splits people. Some people just don't care to see a movie about Tom Hardy driving down the road in his car. But others like me absolutely loved it.

To me this is a very simplistic movie that shows that you don't necessarily need a whole lot to create a good movie. A lot of paintings are like this. You'll have a very simple painting that does the bare minimum in what is actually painted, but many times that is all that is needed to create a grand picture that says a whole lot. It makes the viewers think and imagine the story that is taking place with the artwork. That's what happens here. A great comparison I think is Richard Linklater's Before trilogy. In each of those movies, all you see is people walking and talking. It's very simple, but yet it does a great job of painting the big picture just with simple dialogue telling the story that most films decide to show. If you liked those movies, I really think you'll like this. In this movie, we don't need to see the other characters in their environments. We don't need to see the co-workers. We don't need to see his wife. We don't need to see the lady in the hospital. We don't need to see his son. All we need is to hear them on the phone with Locke. We don't even need to see or listen to their actions and reactions when they hang up the phone with them. Based on the many conversations we hear, we can infer and imagine what they do and say off-phone. We can create this huge story in our mind with all these complex characters just be listening to the building blocks of this story through conversation. It's brilliant.

I really wish this movie would've been bigger in terms of its release and box office total, because this is a movie that I think every movie lover should check out and know of. Since I barely heard of it, I am willing to bet that there are at least a few people out there reading this review that are learning of this movie for the very first time, which saddens me. It also saddens me that I didn't learn of this sooner, so I'm doing my due diligence in spreading the word. This is absolutely brilliant film making that could teach filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers a lot of lessons about film. The acting by Tom Hardy in this movie is top notch. One of his best performances to date in my opinion, and I've loved a lot of his movies. Definitely Oscar-worthy. The other people lending their voices also do a great job of giving us all kinds of emotions with just their voices. Finally, the movie also brings up a whole ton of themes that can be reflected on and discussed for long after this movie ends. So yes, go find this movie and watch it. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it for free right there. I just checked that to make sure it was still up and it is. If you don't have Amazon Prime, I'm sure there's other ways that you can find this. I did actually see this movie before creating my best of 2014 movie list and this movie was one of the last cuts and it broke my heart that I didn't include it. My grade for Locke is a 9/10.

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