Thursday, April 24, 2014

Locke (Rhoades)

New York Film Critics Series
Gives Advance Look at “Locke”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Have you caught the Tropic’s New York Film Critics series? This monthly HD simulcast gives you a look at a new movie before its official in-theater release. What’s more, this “live” event features Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers interviewing the director and stars. Audiences in participating theaters can even text questions to them for on-screen discussion.

“Now everyone throughout the country can enjoy up close and personal moments from major movie stars, producers, writers and directors in the comfort of their own neighborhood theaters,” nods producer Mark Ehrenkranz.

The New York Film Critics Series (NYFCS) has been touted as delivering the “best movies of 2014 that you don’t know about yet.”

Take next Tuesday’s showing at the Tropic, a new film by Steven Knight titled “Locke.” It stars Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception”) as a bearded, anguished construction worker named Ivan Locke who is glued to his phone while driving to London in the dark of night. He talks with his wife, he talks with his son, he talks with his assistant, he talks with his boss, he even talks with his dead father.

Hardy gives a tour de force performance, managing to hold your attention while spending the entire movie behind the wheel of his BMW. His is the face you see, the other actors existing merely as voices on a phone. This through-the-windshield close-up of Hardy’s face magnifies every emotion -- the dewy eyes, the slump of his shoulders, the tight knuckles on the steering wheel.

Surprisingly, “Locke” is a thriller despite the lack of on-screen action, somehow turning the process of pouring concrete into an edge-of-the-seat nail-biter.

Seems that Locke was unfaithful to his wife seven months back and his pregnant colleague has gone into early labor. As he heads to the hospital, he makes his confessional phone calls, with his life beginning to crumble around him. Can he control “the largest concrete pour in Europe” while facing up to all his errors and omissions?

Best-known as a screenwriter (“Eastern Promises,” “Dirty Pretty Things”), Steven Knight finally proves himself as a filmmaker. “Locke” is a study in economy: Knight wrote the film in a week, shot it in two, used a single set (a car), and spent less than $2 million to make it. Yet the film gives you everything you need to become involved in this man’s life. You’re, shall we say, locked in.

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