You want suspense and like being on the edge of your seat. Well, forget get Hannibal Lecter or Bruce the Shark gnashing their teeth in hot pursuit. You’re looking for a thrill ride then get off the Black Pearl and pass on raiding a lost ark. John Locke driving his car, manning the blue tooth to preserve his domestic tranquility will toss you about and bring you to the brink like no other film I’ve ever seen.
The film begins with Ivan Locke, played by Tom Hardy, diligently loading himself into his vehicle, observing the rules of the road, while exiting a large construction site and remaining completely unruffled by the obtrusive horn coming from the rear.
A decision made at the intersection, and his compartmentalized nature established, we learn by phone that the devoted family man is driving to be present at the birth of his illegitimate child, and the boxes that represent all the different aspects of his life are going to collide and get to know each other very well.
In one box resides his work as a concrete engineer. About to take part in the biggest pour in the history of Europe, the job is another day at the beach for Locke. But the bastardly happenstance preventing him from overseeing the project, Locke shakes the sand from his shorts on behalf of the subordinate who must take charge in his absence. “It will be ok, you’re solid,” he tells Donald.
Donald is not so ordered in his thinking. “It’s 300 metric tons of concrete and 200 trucks,” he says, “I’ve never pumped anything that big.”
355 metric tons and 218 trucks Locke interjects his expertise so as not to sell the situation short, while also trying to instill confidence in the second stringer. “You pump it, you seal it, and if it’s piss, you send it back. There’s just more of it.”
You and Donald now shift in a seat that suddenly got shorter as Locke closes the first box and readies the next. “I won’t be back tonight,” he calmly tells his son, but the unraveling of the spousal contents and the return call will have to wait until mom returns home.
Endeared by Locke’s natural way with his son, you feel the pain and the seal coming off the cardboard that holds together his sense of being a father.
A gaping hole opens when Bethany triangulates Locke’s signal. “Do you love me, do you hate me” Locke’s one night stand asks him.
“That’s the pain talking,” Locke tries to keep her contained. “We hardly know each other.”
The abrupt click defrays Ivan’s logic, and the corporate officer in Chicago then gets his turn. “Her water broke two months early,” he states simply. “She’s giving birth, and it’s mine so I will be there.”
The shit then hits the fan, and the cliff begins to give way. “Any delay in the pour will cost the company between 50 and $100 million dollars,” he tries to reason with Locke.
“I’ve made my decision,” he tells Garrett without wavering.
This time the click is Locke’s, and the potential catastrophe in wait falls seamlessly away with the inevitable call back from the wife. She’s in complete disbelief given the exemplary life he’s led with her to this point.
The airbag on your couch ready to deploy, Locke throttles back. “I want to know how we can proceed to a practical next step,” he reasons logically.
But her boxes intermingle as well they should. “Why don’t you go live in one of your buildings,” she deliberately makes a mix of things.
But the real culprit that causes Locke to let his compartmentalized life unravel is his father. Abandoning him as a child, Locke vows not to make the same mistake. So rather than rationally pursuing practical next steps such as delaying his trip to the birth and having a true sit down with his family once the pour is complete and the face seen, Locke forces his worlds to collide.
Whether Locke can stack his boxes back up remains to be seen, but yours are getting knocked over no matter you do.