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Monday 21 April 2014

Locke, (2013) Film, written and directed by Steven Knight, 8* out of 10

Any plan made by Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is solid; preferably set in C6-quality concrete, no less.  He is loyal, reliable, no-nonsense; the kind of building project manager you want when you are putting up the largest skyscraper in Europe. Not only does he make sure there is a plan, and a back-up plan too, but he’ll also be on location to see it through to completion and manage any last minute hitches that might arise.

But when the “perfect storm” breaks out in perfectionist Ivan’s well-organised life, he has to set his priorities and manage the concurrent and disparate crises the only way he knows how. Actually, he really needs to be in three places at once. Although that's impossible, this is the 21st century and Ivan Locke, project manager extraordinaire, believes that with the help of his mobile phone provider it must be feasible to “drive and chew gum” at the same time. But can personal crises be managed like major snags in a building-project? 

Steven Knight’s tightly scripted drama is a tour-de-force brought to the screen with an economy of means entirely consistent with telling the story grippingly.  Dickon Hinchcliffe’s score reinforces the pace. The screenplay is a gift for a gifted actor, which Tom Hardy picks up with a flourish; he is ably supported by a vocal acting ensemble.  The only slight flaw in the screenplay is making the psychological childhood trauma of the relationship between Locke and his father too explicit; here less amateur psychology and more confidence in the power of imagination the audience would have been better. But despite this, Locke is a terrific film. Incidentally, it is eminently suitable for adaptation to a theatre- or radio-play. 

Locke is a must for control-oriented managers who struggle to distinguish between their professional and private life. I plead guilty.  It is also very insightful for anyone, male or female, who aspires to a management career, or has to deal with a concrete- thinking management type in their lives.

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