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posted: 5/1/2014 6:00 AM

Daring 'Locke' rife with decisions, consequences

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  • Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) confronts a series of life-altering complications over an evening's drive in the daring drama "Locke."

    Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) confronts a series of life-altering complications over an evening's drive in the daring drama "Locke."

  • Video: "Locke" trailer


At the end of Steven Knight's one-man drama "Locke," a single car breaks away from the busy main highway and sets off on its own solitary course.

It's a perfect ending for a daring drama that believes in the power of the spoken word to carry a story.

Tom Hardy demonstrates just how commanding an actor can be given the right script, director and latitude to let the dialogue sketch the characters and conflict for our imaginations.

Hardy plays the title character Ivan Locke, a construction manager in something of a personal bind. In the course of an evening's drive, he loses everything he values, everything he has worked for: his career, wife, kids and money.

But it's the only way Locke can proceed if he's to live with himself. If he's to remain moral, decent and responsible by his own definitions.

I will not go into the plot of "Locke" except to say that a personal crisis forces Hardy's unlikely hero to make some tough life choices on the eve before his company is about to make the greatest concrete sale in Europe, outside of government contracts.

Now, Locke can't be there to supervise, as the buyers stipulated in the contract. One complication piles on top another until we are certain the poor man will crack.

But like his name implies, Locke knows what he wants and believes in his abilities to make that happen.

This is one of the most powerful testimonies to the human attitude I have ever seen, executed with Haris Zambarloukos' striking nocturnal photography, accompanied by Dickon Hinchliffe's unobtrusive music, and featuring Hardy's solid-as-Stonehenge performance as a most unusual man of integrity.

"Locke" opens at the River East and Century Centre, Chicago, the Evanston Century 12. Rated R for language. 85 minutes ★ ★ ★

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