Like many a movie, I try and do a bit of prior research to validate my excitement and justify the minimal yet significant outlay of currency involved in movie theatre outings. As a fan of Tom Hardy (whom I first noticed in Sky One drama The Take) I was already sold, but through fear of the moment when I see a favoured actor in a substandard project (Johnny Depp is a prime example of this), identifying a bit more can never have hurt. As always, there is a decent indicator in the writing/direction and with Steven Knight (previously of Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises and Hummingbird) it seemed a safe bet it wouldn't trip, stumble and eventually fall, bloodying up its nose and hindering sight in one eye.
[SPOILER ALERT] If you haven't seen it yet, go away and come back in a bit.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the idea of a movie following one man on a middle England motorway might not be all that exciting. It is even very easy at the beginning to believe you are watching an artier, feature length episode of Top Gear, presented by someone infinitely more macho than its usual trio. It is swiftly obvious that neither is true. There is tension, discomfort and drama in spades; much as one might anticipate in a one man theatre performance, in a confined and highly intimate arena (which this kind of is).
With a 'one drunken night' mistress having his baby on this very night, Ivan Locke journeys the 90 long minutes to 'do the right thing' by the tiny life he has co-created. In the process he has to let down his two sons, with whom he has arranged to watch a particular football match. Coupled with this is his need to confess his sin to his doting wife, breaking her heart and shattering his family unit. On the eve of the biggest build of his career, he decides to leave his post to manage domestic issues, handling business on the move at the cost of his job. A night upon which the stars align (or perhaps comets collide) putting his resilience firmly to the test.
This is a very strong and gripping film that is at points difficult to watch. If you are an amorous male with little self control, perhaps don't go and watch this with your current wife/girlfriend; certainly not if you are the type of person that can't innocently pass through customs without looking guilty. It may touch a nerve. But generally this is great, very different to the norm and bit of a performance showcase from the Tom Hardy portfolio.