Plenty of great films have been made in which the camera never leaves its one sole setting. Alfred Hitchcock made a habit of doing such films every few years with work like Lifeboat (1944), Rope (1948), and especially Rear Window (1954). Roman Polanski has undergone something of a late-career renaissance with Carnage (2011) and Venus in Fur (2013) both excellent films being set in one room entirely. Director Steven Knight attempts to do something similar here with Locke, starring Tom Hardy in a car all alone by himself for an 85 minutes, leaving his job and his family behind for personal reasons, and taking angry and confused phonecalls for the entirety of the film.
Whilst the film has an appropriate and engaging sense of forward motion with some excellent dialogue (Knight has a strong track record as a screenwriter), there are a few too many heavy ‘this-is-the-point’ symbols, and visually Knight does not have the experience or dexterity of a Polanski or Hitchcock to make Locke cinematically engaging the entire time. Special mention must be made of Hardy’s performance: it is physically excellent, but for no apparent reason whatsoever he decides to use a comical Welsh accent, reminiscent of Geraint Pillock from long-forgotten cult comedy show Barry Welsh is Coming, distracting from the film’s serious tone. Funny, but unintentional so despite the film’s strengths.