Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Film Spotlight: Locke 

As he's driving home from work one day Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) stops at a traffic light. It turns green and he doesn't move. A cement truck honks at him. He pauses. He eventually adjusts his turn signal and heads off in the opposite direction. And so begins writer-director Steven Knight's Locke, a movie that takes place entirely within the confines of Ivan's car. While that might make the film, which opens on Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre, seem like a mere novelty, Hardy's performance and the sharp script make it a riveting experience.

As Ivan drives from the construction site where he works as a foreman to London where he has to take care of a personal problem, we slowly learn what made his change his mind when he was at the stoplight. The phone in his car doesn't stop ringing as he drives. His wife and kids wonder why he's not coming home to watch a soccer match. His boss wonders why he won't be on the job in the morning to pour the slab for a giant skyscraper. His co-worker wonders how he'll be able to oversee the cement work without Ivan.

All the while, Ivan remains fairly even keel, even as he curses his late father for being a deadbeat dad. He keeps telling himself that he can make things right but his boss wants to fires him over the phone and his wife threatens to leave him. Ivan continues to try to do things by the book. He tells his co-worker everything he needs to know to make the job run smoothly — he even makes a few calls to make sure the right roads are closed so the trucks can get to the site. He tells his wife that he'd like to "proceed to the next step" once they resolve their differences.

The film would seem to lend itself to some dramatic crash scene, but that's not how Knight keeps us interested. Rather, as Ivan drives, his car occasionally rattles as he goes over a bump. It's a nice metaphor for life. And it shows the extent to which the film employs subtlety in showing how one wrong move can make a person's life turn into a series of painstaking negotiations.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Cedar Lee Theatre

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation