If project management was an extreme sport then Ivan Locke could be one of the world's best. We are no doubt in the presence of a multitasking master as we join him in his BMW on an urgent dash from Birmingham to London in the wake of a personal crisis. The successful construction site manager has abandoned his employer on the eve of the biggest day of his career, as well as his loving family who are expecting him home to watch the big football match. For the next enthralling 85 minutes he has the daunting task of advising everyone of his decision while on the way.
Like most project managers, Locke's exceptional leadership, communication and problem solving skills are apparent as he manages his boss' reaction, delegates important tasks to his right hand man and arranges necessary road closures for his concrete truck deliveries. And concrete is important in this film. Audiences will be surprised at just how much they learn about the preparations to lay a foundation of a multi-million dollar sky scraper. It's representative of Locke's solid and dependable nature, however his usual calm, logical and orderly approach is not as successful at home. Cracks start to appear in his personal life, evident from the emotional calls made to his family.
Tom Hardy gives a gripping performance as Ivan Locke, adopting a welsh accent for the role. 'There's a softness and soothing quality to it', said Hardy in a recent interview with Wales Online'he had to sound like Richard Burton, like he could put out fires with his voice'. Hardy is joined by an impeccable supporting cast of voices whose reactions over the phone are responsible for the increasing suspense as well as the odd light moment, which helps to break some of the tension.
Beautiful cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos and editing by Justine Wright have us riding along with Locke, soothed by a backdrop of reflections and shadows from passing cars and overhead street lights which frolic around the car and across the windshield. Shot in just over a week, writer/director Steven Knight offers up a filmmaking master class in minimalism. The film consists of just one man in one car armed with one hands free phone, yet our attention doesn't waiver as we become engrossed in the gravity of his spiralling situation revealed with each phone call received or made.
But all we can do is watch, helplessly, as he puts his job, marriage and life as he knows it all in jeopardy in order to do what he believes is the right thing.
Locke is screening nationally in selected cinemas.