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“Locke” with Tom Hardy – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

locke tom hardy 600x300

Directed by: Steven Knight
Written by: Steven Knight
Main Cast: Tom Hardy, with the voices of Olivia Colman, Tom Holland, Ruth Wilson, and a few others, none of whom are shown on screen besides Hardy
Past Oscar relations: Steven Knight was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay for his writing work on Dirty Pretty Things

It’s Wednesday folks, so here now we have the newest article in this series of mine on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for some sort of Oscar attention at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up is Steven Knight’s Locke, which hopes to capitalize on a unique premise and a tour de force from Tom Hardy. Knight writes and directs the film with an interesting style that keeps this play like movie from ever seeming stagy. That’s hard to pull off, but Hardy and Knight do it brilliantly, making for a memorable cinematic experience. The film now hopes to make a play for larger attention when it opens this weekend.

What this flick has going in its favor is surely Hardy’s performance and how well Knight pulls off the tricky concept. Basically, this is a one man show, all taking place within the title character’s car while he’s one a long, late night drive. It’s an unconventional thriller, but an often riveting one. Anyone who sees it almost has no choice but to leave the screening room/theater raving about Hardy’s acting and the way Knight keeps the plot moving forward. It’s so well done you almost don’t realize it until afterwards.

Working against Locke is that it’s a rather small movie that’s very easy to see getting lost in the shuffle. It also isn’t the most pleasant watch in the world, so voters could certainly just pay it no mind. No matter how good the acting is, Academy voters have been known to not necessarily recognize this sort of performance. Just ask J.C. Chandor and Robert Redford if you don’t believe me, as All is Lost managed only a singular technical citation. Locke probably won’t even be able to get that unless it’s really championed early on.

So, can this be a player at all? I’d say that it’s a rather long shot, though Hardy deserves some consideration for his work here. I’d expect a precursor or two to perhaps cite him, though larger recognition will likely elude Locke, give or take the occasional mention for Knight’s screenplay. Regardless of if it can make it to the finish line, the film is well worth seeing and could turn into a critical darling, which in turn to fuel a campaign. It’ll be interesting to see how this one progresses…

Grade: Long Shot Contender (Best Actor is its only shot, and it’s a long one)

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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