Locke (film)

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Locke film poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Knight
Written bySteven Knight
Produced by
CinematographyHaris Zambarloukos
Edited byJustine Wright
Music byDickon Hinchliffe
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 2 September 2013 (2013-09-02) (Venice)
  • 18 April 2014 (2014-04-18) (United Kingdom)
Running time
85 minutes
  • United Kingdom[2]
  • United States[2]
Budget$2 million[3]
Box office$5.1 million[4][5]

Locke is a 2013 British-American psychological drama film written and directed by Steven Knight. It stars Tom Hardy in the title role (and the only on-screen character) as he drives while conducting a series of phone conversations with characters voiced by Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland and Bill Milner.

The film premiered at the 70th Venice Film Festival on 2 September 2013. The film had a limited release in the United Kingdom beginning on 18 April 2014, and grossed $5.1 million worldwide. It received critical acclaim, particularly for Hardy's performance, which won him the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor.


The evening before he must be present in Birmingham to supervise the largest non-nuclear facility and non-military concrete pour in European history, construction foreman Ivan Locke learns that Bethan (a colleague from a job in Croydon with whom he cheated on his wife seven months prior, resulting in her becoming pregnant) has gone into premature labour. Despite his job responsibilities and although his wife and sons are awaiting his arrival home to watch a football match, he decides to drive to London to be with Bethan during childbirth; he never forgave his father for abandoning him as a child and is determined not to make the same mistake even though he has no relationship with, nor any particular feelings for, Bethan.

Over the course of the 90-minute drive from Birmingham to London, Locke holds a total of 36 phone calls with his boss Gareth; his work trainee Donal; his wife of 15 years Katrina, to whom he confesses his infidelity; his sons Eddie and Sean, who call him separately with updates on the football match he originally planned to watch with them, and later Katrina's breakdown; maternity unit personnel Sister Margaret and Halil Gullu, who are working with Bethan through troubling complications; the council head Cassidy and local police authority PC Davids, who are required for the road closures needed to allow the 225+ concrete trucks to properly access the site; and Bethan, whom he reassures during labour.

During the calls, Locke is fired from his job by Gareth, banned from his house by Katrina, and asked by Eddie to return home. He coaches Donal through the preparation of the pour despite major setbacks and has imaginary conversations with his dead father, whom he envisions (off-screen) as a passenger in his car. He berates his father for abandoning the family and vows he will not repeat that mistake. When he is close to the hospital, Bethan calls him to share the sound of their baby after her successful childbirth.





Almost the entire film takes place within a BMW X5, which was pulled down the M6 motorway on a low flatbed trailer for most of the shoot. Shooting took place over six nights, with the crew only taking breaks to change the three cameras' memory cards.[6] Ivan Locke is the only character to appear onscreen; the others are heard on the vehicle's speakerphone, with their parts also recorded in real time (Locke's vehicle and road noise included) as they called from a conference room that served as the multiple "locations" of the various characters.[6][7]


Locke was shown out of competition at the 70th Venice International Film Festival[8][9] as well as the Spotlight program in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.[10]

It was released on 18 April 2014 in the United Kingdom,[11] where it earned $1,434,082.[4] On 25 April 2014 it opened in the United States and earned $1,375,769.[4] The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on 12 August 2014.[12]


Critical response[edit]

Hardy (pictured at the film's premiere) received acclaim for his performance

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of 220 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 7.7/10. The critical consensus states, "A one-man show set in a confined location, Locke demands a powerful performance—and gets it from a never-more-compelling Tom Hardy."[13] The film has a score of 81 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[14] Olly Richards of Empire awarded the film 4/5 stars and said, "There are films to see on huge screens, but this is one that almost cries out for a small cinema, surrounded by total blackness. It's a daring experiment brilliantly executed, with Tom Hardy giving one of the best performances of his career."[15] Film critic David Thomson singled out Locke in his book How to Watch a Movie (2015) and wrote, "No film I've seen in recent years is more eloquent on where we are now, and on how alone we feel. There is little left but to watch and listen."[16]

For his performance, Hardy won the Best Actor Award at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.[17]


A French adaptation titled Cross Away, directed by Gilles Bourdos and starring Vincent Lindon, was in post-production as of February 2024.[18]


  1. ^ "Locke (2014)". BBFC. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Locke (2013)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  3. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (25 April 2014). "Tom Hardy Talks About His Experimental Indie Movie 'Locke'". Variety. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Locke (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Lock (2013) Foreign". Box Office Mojo.
  6. ^ a b Murphy, Mekado (23 April 2014). "A Road Movie, but With No Rest Stops". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  7. ^ Thomlison, Adam. "Q & A". TV Media. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Out of Competition". labiennale. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Venice film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  10. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (5 December 2013). "Sundance Spotlight & Midnight 2014 Lineup Includes 'Only Lovers Left Alive,' Tom Hardy's 'Locke,' 'The Double' & More". IndieWire. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  11. ^ Glasby, Matt (14 April 2014). "Locke". Total Film. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  12. ^ "DVD Releases". Tribute.ca. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Locke (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Locke". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  15. ^ Richards, Olly. "Locke". Empire. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  16. ^ How to Watch a Movie (2015) by David Thomson.
  17. ^ Gajewski, Ryan; Appelo, Tim (7 December 2014). "L.A. Film Critics Name 'Boyhood' Best Picture". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. ^ Leffler, Rebecca (17 February 2024). "Newen Connect launches 'Cross Away', the French remake of Steven Knight's 'Locke' (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 17 February 2024.

External links[edit]