Locke review (Blu-ray)

Does the prospect of watching a movie featuring nothing but Tom Hardy driving along a motorway at night speaking to various characters via his Bluetooth appeal to you? He is literally the only person you see and his journey to London takes place in real time. Hardly enticing is it?

But think again. He is in trouble with his boss for letting him down at the last minute regarding a construction plan that's taking place early the next morning and he also has a most vexing domestic problem. His wife and sons don't yet know that he is to be a father again, due to a brief liaison with a female work colleague he had a one night stand with. Juggling these conflicts as he drives to his destination makes for a bizarrely absorbing experience.

Hardy is quite simply brilliant in reacting to the dilemmas befalling him. His Welsh accent here makes him curiously sympathetic and he never once tries to go for big dramatic gestures or histrionic moments. He's completely believable, giving us a formidably rounded interpretation of this somewhat lost individual – loving in his chats with his sons (Holland and Milner), confidently authoritative when instructing a drunk underling (Scott), patient and resilient when arguing with his superior (Daniels), calm and sensible when helping the panicky mother-to-be (Colman), pragmatic and subtle in confessing his adultery to his wife (Wilson). It's a marvellous performance in all – he makes acting looking so deceptively easy.

The voice actors he interplays with are all his equal – each one of them is wholly convincing in their interactions with him and first rate in making us involved in his conflicts. Crisp and compelling, Locke is a most unusual drama that is well worth your time. Writer-director Knight deserves plaudits aplenty for fashioning an endeavour so simple and yet so skillful. Recommended.

EXTRAS ★★ An audio commentary with writer-director Knight; and the behind-the-scenes featurette Ordinary Unravelling: Making Locke (9:36).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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