Locke

 

Locke

Cinematography: Haris Zambarloukos

Original Music: Dickon Hinchliffe

Editing: Justine Wright

Supervising Sound Designer & Effects Editor: Ian Wilson

Produced by Paul Webster & Guy Heeley

Written & Directed by Steven Knight

September 2013 (Venice)

April 2014 (UK)


Cast:

• Tom Hardy

• Olivia Coleman

• Ruth Wilson

• Andrew Scott

• Ben Daniels

• Tom Holland

• Bill Milner


Production Studio:

Theatrical: Showbox Films

Video: LionsGate


Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD25

Feature Size: 18.66 GB

Bit Rate: High (ca. 34 Mbps)

Runtime: ca. 84.5 minutes

Chapters: 16

Region: A


Audio:

English DTS-HD MA 5.1


Subtitles:

English SDH & Spanish


Extras:

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Steven Knight

• Ordinary Unraveling: Making Locke - in HD (9:30 min.)


Presentation:

Rated: R

Amaray Blu-ray Case w/ slipcover: BRD x 1

Street Date: August 12, 2014



Product Description [LionsGate]

LionsGate Tom Hardy is a "blazing wonder" (Rolling Stone) in a tour-de-force central performance in Locke, a feat of bold, dynamic storytelling from Oscar®-nominated writer-director Steven Knight (Eastern Promises; Best Original Screenplay, Dirty Pretty Things, 2003.) Winner of Best Screenplay at the British Independent Film Awards, this "compelling, genuinely moving and suspenseful" (Vanity Fair) film was theatrically released by A24. 


"Gripping and deeply cinematic" (Screen Daily), Locke is a thrilling ride that follows a successful businessman as he receives a series of phone calls that set in motion a chain of events that will unravel his perfect life, all of which takes place in real time over the course of one absolutely riveting and intense car ride. Ivan Locke (Hardy) is a man at the top of his game. A dedicated husband and father and a star employee at a high-powered construction firm, he's the model of cool professionalism with a talent for managing complex situations. Driving home on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Locke makes a sudden choice to go confront the only situation in his life that can't be neatly handled. He quickly learns that the cost of becoming a better man is high. Locke is a unique cinematic experience and gripping story of choices, consequences and a man who risks everything he holds dear in order to do the right thing.


           


Critical Response:

Philadelphia Inquirer

A tour de force, and a tour down British motorways in the dead of night, Locke stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a man in a BMW, on his Bluetooth, trying to keep the pieces of his life from flying apart. That is the sum of writer/director Steven Knight's movie: a man, a car, a hands-free mobile device. And it is extraordinary. Unfolding in real time, Locke finds its title character - a site manager on the biggest construction project of his career, and one of the biggest in Europe - heading from Birmingham, where he lives, to London, where a woman lies alone in a hospital room, waiting. 

 

Locke has the power of great theater, as the actor engages with disembodied voices of the people in his life, as he soliloquizes, raging against his dead dad (shades of Hamlet). But Locke also has the power of great film. The lights of cars, streetlights and signs, dashboard dials and screens reflect and refract, ricocheting in a hypnotic swirl. Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos knows his stuff. Like Gravity, Locke is a space movie - a confined-space movie, that is. And like All Is Lost, it is about one man, alone, struggling to survive. In Locke, however, the protagonist is contending not with the forces of nature, but with the forces of human nature. They can be brutal. - Steven Rae


           

 

Slant Magazine 

The fourth wall in Locke is the windshield of a car, inside which a man with a superhero's name drives toward a destination that, like the many details of his personal and professional life, only becomes known to the audience through a series of fraught phone conversations. . .The voices on the other side of Ivan's calls notwithstanding, writer-director Steven Knight has handed Hardy a plum role in what's essentially a one-man production set inside what may as well be a cardboard box, and the actor dutifully pounds the sides of it with that intensely simmering mix of rage and pathos that's become his calling card.  

 

In the way it slowly completes the picture of Ivan's self-annihilation, with the nuances of one phone call often illuminating the subtext of another, Knight's screenplay is thrilling in its prismatic composition. But the filmmaker's obsession with space is entirely limited to his boxed-in setting and the emotional fireworks the pent-up Ivan risks setting off throughout; his only visual signature is the easy effect of rendering passing cars as out-of-focus blobs of light. Worse is how Knight fills his script with plodding detours into symbolist terrain, equating Ivan's obsession with foundational concrete to his unresolved daddy issues, which are made maddeningly evident whenever he chats with his ostensibly dead paterfamilias, whom he imagines seated in the back seat of his car. It's this literalizing of the character's hidden self and his inability to master it that ultimately exposes Locke as the squarest kind of theater: drama therapy. - Ed Gonzalez


           

 

Image: 8

The original photography is done with the Red Epic camera, which, together with software processing can produce a variety of image presentations. In this case, the “look” director Steven Knight was after is a raw, almost documentary appearance to correspond with the intention that the action appear to occur in real time inside a real car driving over real streets and highways. The shots of Hardy tend be on the soft side, while exteriors have a more delineated appearance, though often as not, photo effects are employed that deliberately change shapes of headlight and reflections to suggest the subjective state of the driver. Given these limitations, it is clear that the transfer is perfectly good with no apparent artifacts, enhancements or other distressing concerns. Since the film was shot entirely at night, noise could be a concern, but is not. Grain, or the semblance of grain, is evident, however. Locke is not a particularly ingratiating film to look at, which is probably a good thing as it might have presented a distraction to its intimate drama.


           

 

Audio & Music: 8/9

Knight’s generally truthful approach to the drama is made evident by the slight haze that inhabits Hardy’s voice.  His Welsh accent is very agreeable, even tranquilizing most of the time, which is his intent; however there is also a lack of fine clarity that comes with it. This is not because Hardy mumbles, but because the actor has a cold which, luckily, sounds a little like his voice is recorded in a car driving in the rain, which it is at times. Conversely, the recorded sound of the actors speaking to him on his Bluetooth car phone are actually clearer, as they are generally expressing crisis in response to Locke’s decision to not attend to his job or go home that night but drive to London on very personal business.


            

 

I’m not really sure in this case what a Music Supervisor does, though Original Music: Dickon Hinchliffe. In that secondary group of credits appears the name of Ian Wilson as Supervising Sound Designer & Effects Editor, which here would seem nearly as important as Justine Wright’s job as Film Editor. In any case the result of their collaboration, aside from the conversations that we hear inside the car, makes a powerful contribution to the film – not only in terms of mood, which Hinchliffe’s score conveys so ably, but also dramatic phrasing that keeps the story moving despite the monotony of driving and provides transitions between phone conversations.

 

The surround channels are used most effectively with the music that comes on like you’re wearing headphones. I doubt this was the intention but I felt as if the music was inviting me into Locke’s head.  Environmental  sounds of traffic and rain are heard from Locke’s perspective in the cabin of his BMW X5, muted but present.


           

 

Extras: 6

In addition to h Writer/Director Steven Knight’s running Audio Commentary, LionsGate gives us a 9 ½ min. EPK featurette with the promising title “Ordinary Unraveling: Making Locke.”  We hear from writer/director Knight, his cinematographer, editor and producer who manage to say something of value in the brief time allotted.  Worth watching, but don’t expect much. On the other hand, Steven Knight is an engaging reporter of his own work in his commentary, with a delivery not unlike Hardy’s in the movie, though the accent is entirely different.  There are pauses of different length, but not so much as to forget he’s still with us. Worth a listen.


           

 

Comment

The Movie: 8

As every critic has already raved, Locke contains an awesome performance by one of today’s best younger (as in: not lots of film credits) actors. Except for his helmeted performance in The Dark Knight Rises, everything I’ve seen him in sparkles for his being in it, especially Bronson, the story of England’s most notorious prisoner. Hardy’s performance here is a master class in the concept of “Acting is not Acting, it’s Reacting.” There are moments where Locke’s calm exterior and direct speech gives way to bursts of impatient fury, but for the great majority of the movie’s 84 minutes we are treated to one of the most externally reserved performances on film.

 

Despite Ivan Locke’s transgression, we like this man and hope he can find a way out of his dilemma. What impressed me most about Locke’s character is how he manages frustration – a quality I lack in a handful of spades. I kept thinking this movie should be required viewing for Anger Management classes. Over and over he is confronted with people on the other end of the line who oppose his decision in one way or another, who frustrate his intentions, yet he maintains a level of calm that, in turn, generally achieves its purpose. Not always, of course – Locke’s decision could have disastrous consequences.


           

 

We also appreciate the various voice-only performances that come and go and return throughout his drive to London – each one a unique and readily identified voice. And though every one of them goes through more emotional changes than Locke himself, they all remain in character. Very impressive. Smart casting, too.

 

Then there is the car itself, a BMW X5, and the frequent shots of isolated pieces of the instrument panel, telling us and Locke who’s who and where they are and where he is. And there are those telling direction signals: first to the right as he leaves his parking spot; then left when he stops at the crossroads of his life to turn to home; then right again as he changes course to make for London and his fate. Curiously, the movie ends with one last signal as Locke’s car trails off into the distance – to the right, yet he turns left. I’ll wager it’s an unfortunate mistake and not meant for us to think Locke changes his mind once again. In his commentary, Knight makes no mention of it. Curious.


           

 

Alas, what had started out as a Score 10, dropped again and again as Locke spoke to his imagined father. This for two reasons: the one because it breaks the spellbinding rhythms created by the real conversations he was having on the phone. And the other, despite that Knight no doubt sees them as counterpoint to those conversations, I felt them to be a contrived way of achieving Knight’s apparent aim, viz., to help us understand why he feels compelled to do this thing tonight despite the probable loss of everything dear to him – and which understanding, heaven knows, we in the audience require. In the featurette, Knight says that people do all sorts of things, think and say all sorts of things while driving long distances by themselves. And this is true (he said, from personal experience.)  However, when the camera takes the point of view of Locke’s rear view mirror and stares at an empty seat, I blurted out “You can’t do that!” A rear view mirror looks out the rear window, not downwards to the seats – and even though this is just a technical point, there was something decidedly fantastical about the shot, like a horror movie where some devilish creature lurks behind the hapless victim. If that was part of the intention, it was poorly judged, I felt.


           

 

Making matters worse, (and to enlarge on Ed Gonzalez’ complaint in his review In Slate Magazine) Locke appears to speak to it – to the seat, not the imagined person in the seat. I mean, I talk to myself and imaginary people when I’m driving, but I don’t look at a seat and imagine that the seat is the person I’m talking to. It’s just a confusing piece of direction is all, but a surprising one considering how well all else in managed. We know Locke is speaking to a projected person who is not there, so why initialize the scene with a long look at an empty seat; why not simply have Locke start speaking? We know it’s empty, and it’s redundant at best to continue to return to shots of the empty seat. In his commentary, Knight explains that the windshield represents the window into his future, and the rear window, his past. Makes sense. . .  even more sense, as my friend, Lee Chen points out, that Locke’s father is the back seat driver of his life, but. . .I think if you’re married to the idea of his looking at the past through the rear view mirror, simply show him looking into the mirror and don’t have the mirror see an empty seat. It’s perfectly clear he’s not on the phone and we would soon come to realize that he’s speaking to his imagined father. I also have trouble seeing Locke place his father directly behind him while he’s driving. Is that really where you want to put someone you’ve been angry with all your life? It’s a judgment call, I guess. I like that his father is represented as on his back, like a drug habit, but in the car, behind Locke, dad strikes me as dangerous. And because dad is behind him, Hardy has to work all the harder to to make his case. On the other hand, that’s just what Locke has to do: to work very hard to rationalize (and not in a bad way) his current choice. Well, what can I say, it’s Knight’s character, not mine.


           

 

Recommendation: 8

I spent perhaps a disproportional amount of space to my one criticism of the movie partly because I think it otherwise to be so brilliant.  If Locke were a play - and it could, and should, easily be staged as such, probably even more effectively since the protagonist’s soliloquies to his father could be more suitably staged – we would speak of how the film director effectively “opened up” the play by editing several drives to London into a continuous episode in real time. Still, there is that nagging bit with his father. Aside from that, Locke is still great theatre – um, cinema – or, at least a brave cinematic experiment. I was riveted. Despite my reservations, Locke on Blu-ray comes warmly recommended.

 

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

August 3, 2014

 

 

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