Weekend Film Recommendation: Locke

On a good day, it takes a little over two hours to drive the M40 from Birmingham all the way to London. If you’re speeding to meet an emergency, you can make it in just over an hour and half. This weekend’s film recommendation, Steven Knight’s Locke, unfolds in real-time, as the eponymous main character Ivan Locke completes the journey along the M40 before the credits roll by the 85th minute.

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Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, who steps from the construction site where he works into his BMW in the late evening as the film begins. This is the only time we will see Locke outside of his car for the duration of the film, and it is the only time we will see him in the same frame as another human face. Locke is one of those films that wrings a literary conceit as dry as it will allow: It doesn’t take long before the audience cottons on to the fact that this film will end before Locke reaches London, and there will be no reprieve from the eight or so different angles from which we’ll view his face behind the steering wheel. The only other voices we hear are disembodied, played through the speaker of his car’s Bluetooth. Locke is alone. Continue reading “Weekend Film Recommendation: Locke”

Weekend Film Recommendation: Bronson

This week’s movie recommendation is one of Tom Hardy’s first significant lead performance, which showcased both his commanding physical presence and his captivating acting prowess. Hardy plays the lead in Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylization of the true life of Michael Peterson, a man notorious for terrorizing English prisons for over three decades. During that time, Peterson transformed himself into an alter ego, the titular Bronson (2008).

The film tells Peterson’s biography, such as it is. A youthful aspiration to make something of himself induces a young Peterson to rob a post office. Perhaps he might have aimed a little higher, or maybe he set his sights just right; given his eagerness to commence the seven-year sentence he earns for the robbery, it’s hard to know if it wasn’t part of his plan all along. Once his residence in prison begins it’s not long before Peterson finds opportunities to force the authorities to extend his sentence (at the time of the film’s release, it was 34 years; it’s now going on 40). Continue reading “Weekend Film Recommendation: Bronson”