Locke (2013) Review

Shubham Padia
5 min readFeb 12, 2021

Aren’t we all sitting on (metaphorical) time bombs, something from past that can come out any moment, perhaps the only thing we won’t know… is when?

Only a few performances have the ability to form a bond with audience even when the character did something wrong, seems like these are Steven Knight’s favorite characters.

Director & Screenplay Writer— Steven Knight (the guy who created Peaky Blinders)
Actors — Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott.

I feel Locke is such a story. Simply put, it’s about Ivan Locke, the guy who did something in the past, knew he had to do something about it, but didn’t. Almost like the rest of us, possibly the only thing, us and Ivan might have in common as I can say with confidence that Ivan Locke isn’t an ordinary man. A man has many lives. Different kinds of relationships. Family, Friends, Colleagues can be roughly put into personal, professional and social relationships categories, however the one which we often tend to forget, ironically of utmost importance, the relationship of man with his past.

I am not pointing out that past determines who we become, but it definitely has a contribution in shaping us. What truly makes Ivan different is the Attitude towards life. We will hear him often saying, “how can we fix this? What’s the most logical step? Who is the right person to call at worst moments? Who can fix this? What’s the next practical step?”

Before we delve into details, let me introduce this guy a little. He is a concrete guy. He works at a construction site. Writer points points out that he is the kind of person who gives the construction papers five days before the deadline where I suppose, director is trying to say that he is precisely the man you can trust. Maybe more than that. While speaking to Garett (his boss), Garett mentions how Ivan has never set a wrong foot in the past nine years. Director has even subtly revealed that Ivan’s an observer, he knows that the other person (Donal) is drunk by only hearing his voice. He has a home, family of two boys who he cares about, endearingly. On this particular night, he had promised his sons to be there for the game, his wife was going to make sausages and they were gonna have a great night watching the game. By now, we understand, Ivan takes care of his family.

Steven Knight has probably displayed the best representation of arguments going on within us. In a unique way, we get to know that Ivan wasn’t taken care of. He was abandoned by the one person who was supposed to always support him. It’s a strange feeling to relate to, and I understand if many people don’t find this story intriguing, but Locke isn’t about what’s happening to him, it’s a movie about choices. Especially when the line between who’s right and wrong gets blurry, he is the guy who can’t let it go wrong for his people. Literally speaking, the movie is about the Ivan Locke talking to people during the drive, it takes us through an emotional journey. He is almost calm and composed, in situations where most of us would be freaking out.

I noticed, at one point he says “I have made the decision and I am not turning back.” and it is reflected in the way he drives, going in one direction, his decision in life as well as how he drives. Often we have to choose between the urgent and the important. As pointed out by Simon Sinek, it takes immense courage to choose the important over the urgent.

Let’s break the plot. Ivan was an honest man. He told his wife about the one time he had sex with other person. Ivan tries to explain that it was just once. I completely agree with his wife, the difference between cheating once and never is everything, perhaps Ivan would agree too. But it’s not about his problems or the consequences he’s going to face because of his mistake, it’s about the child that’s about to be born. You can tell a lot about a person if you know about their childhood. I feel, if the person had a rough time growing up, it’s strangely their purpose in life that no other person goes through what they went through, even if it means hell for them their entire life. We see Ivan arguing with his dad (who actually isn’t in the car but in his head), how he will do the right thing and not abandon the child.

When I think about what happened after the movie, I feel that Ivan still cares for Katrina and tries to take care of her, at times invisibly. He still meets his kids, Eddie and Sean. He watches the game with them, makes it a fun night for them. All while taking care of the Bethan and her child because we know, Ivan is the guy who will take any responsibility for his children just so they don’t suffer. I wish, we appreciated Ivan in our life. Yeah, he fucked up. And it’s unforgivable. But it tells a lot about his character that he didn’t let one thing ruin the other or at least tried to. He tried to fix all of it. Of course, life is not all rainbows, I was pretty sure that he’s not getting it all figured out. There was no way, the ending could be happy. It was not that simple. We can’t expect each of us to react to a problem in a similar way. But there could be peace and there was a sense of peace when we hear that baby cry, it does feel Ivan did the right thing even in a set of terrible events.

Feels like, Steven Knight is trying to point out,

“Principles you laid out for yourself, you shouldn’t let go of them even in the worst of times.”

Now coming to acting. Hardy doesn’t display lot of loud, visible emotions apart from a few screams when it felt too much to take in. But that just shines out more ’cause Ivan as a character is not that expressive based on his other actions. He is that guy who stands in the corner, drinking his beer when he’s done with all the work and rarely wants any recognition. He is the one who is willing to stay at work when everybody wants to go home. I feel Hardy had a firm grasp of the character throughout, his mannerisms, his reactions to his fuckups or someone else’s. I can even see the character’s great with numbers, he wasn’t necessarily intelligent but I am pretty sure he made himself the man he is. Overall, Tom Hardy has done a great job portraying the depth of the man.

This is not actually a review, it’s supposed to create a fire of curiosity inside you to watch the movie. Hope you enjoy this as well as the movie :)

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Shubham Padia

I like movies. Thoughtful movies. I geek out on writers, directors, artists in general. I try to write screenplays on dark days. Optimistic Anti-Hero.