[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Locke opens today in limited release.]
When a film is executed under a series of conditions, it can feel like an exercise. It can come off like a director running a test rather than telling a story. But restrictions can also spur creativity and yield unexpected results. Steven Knight’s Locke sets its conditions: a story told in real time where the protagonist is stuck behind the wheel of a constantly moving car, he’s the only character on screen, and he only talks to other characters over the phone. Under these conditions, Knight and star Tom Hardy have created a surprisingly captivating picture where adultery and concrete maintenance carry the same dramatic weight.