On the Silver Screen

Apr 23, 2014 | Posted by in Movies


This wasn’t a film I knew anything about going in, I knew that it starred Tom Hardy -usually guarantees a film a watch for me- and I had seen the poster but somehow never a trailer so I had no idea what to expect.

It was to my pleasant surprise that I was entirely blown away by this. The idea is a very simple one, Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a successful construction manager who is on a long drive to London while trying to sort various parts of his life out over the phone. Unfortunately I can’t talk about this film at all without spoiling parts of it so I will apologise in advance.

The film itself is very minimalist in the approach, the entirety taking place within Ivan’s car and all interactions coming in the form of phone calls to and from unseen colleagues, family members and others. It reminded me of Ryan Reynolds’ Buried without the urgency of almost certain death. The idea works wonderfully, Hardy has the acting chops to carry an engaging character story on his own and the narrative is paced perfectly so that it never gets in any way tedious.

Here’s where the minor spoilers come in, the narrative focuses on Ivan driving to London in order to be present for the birth of his illegitimate lovechild who is being born months early, while doing that he has to oversee preparations for a complex construction job that he’s been involved in over the phone as well as explain his indiscretion to his wife. There’s a lot going on here in terms of story and all of it is very strong. Ivan is portrayed as a decent guy who is just trying to do the right thing, he doesn’t try to worm his way out of his mistake and owns up to it -albeit a bit late- ready to accept the consequences. Naturally his wife is upset with him and she doesn’t react sympathetically.

The dialogue in the conversations flows naturally, they feel like real conversations that take time out to discuss minutia because that’s what real people do when talking on the phone. They are also interesting to listen to and special credit must be given to the writing on the dialogue regarding the construction job. Arguably the subject matter is somewhat mundane but the script is so sharp that it’s strangely satisfying to listen to Ivan sorting out the various hiccups that keep plaguing it and there is genuine drama over whether it’ll get done or not. The conversations he have with his wife are also particularly well written, the pain in both of their voices coming through clearly lending real tension to the exchanges over the state their marriage will be in following this revelation.

For this to work, the performances needed to sell it and that is certainly what happens here. Tom Hardy is excellent, conveying so much emotion in his voice and facial expressions as well as the limited gesturing that being behind the wheel of a car offers him. The voice cast -inclusive of Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Colman and others- are spot on as well, they bring their characters to life with only words and the emotion behind them.

Overall, this film was superb. It has great performances, engaging dialogue and a tight script that is perfectly paced. It manages to produce interest in topics that might otherwise be mundane. I can’t recommend it enough.


You can find my review of it on Adam Mulgrew’s site here -link to be updated once review uploaded-