MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Tom Hardy. Drama. Written and directed by Steven Knight.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Married construction foreman Ivan Locke leaves an important job in Birmingham and drives down to London to be with the woman he had a one night stand with as she gives birth to his child. Along the way, he tries to settle stressful personal and professional problems on his mobile phone while having imaginary conversations with his long deceased father.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Iím divided on this one. On one hand, Locke is a creative concept and grippingly executed. Tom Hardy gives a solid, bravura performance and writer/director Steven Knight proves that all you need to make a movie is a flashy car, a phone and a strong performance. Actually, he adds dimension to this one man drama using an expertise that allows for theme and moral to ride comfortably alongside cinematic flash. As the lead is facing his past mistakes (he strayed one time in his 15-year marriage) and taking a selfless route to redemption, the film becomes a work of great depth and purpose.

On the other hand, the f-word is used at least 90 times by the on-screen lead and several off-screen actors via the phone. I mention this because the word indicts the film and the characters as a people and project done from a humanistic approach.

Throughout the film, the lead imagines his dead dad in the backseat. The father had left his family when Locke was very young, leaving a wounded and unforgiving boy behind. Locke as a man has never forgiven his father for the abandonment. I suspect that would be hard to do, but Locke is trying to do the right thing, even at the cost of his marriage and his job. Itís almost a pride thing witn him as he fears being anything like his self-centered father. So the desired change in Locke is based on pride and defiance (Is there some symbolism in the use of Locke as a last name?). At no point do we get the impression that Lockeís self-sacrifice is based upon a religious epiphany. Thatís where the f-word becomes so defining. Words on screen, as in life, reveal a personís inner thoughts and motives. So, nearly a hundred uses of that particular word, plus the irreverent use of Jesus name several times from the lead, indicates that this is not a church-going man or group he hangs with.

I suspect that forgiving a parent for abandonment takes more than man can do from a singularly human approach. There is the spiritual element needed and Christís intervention in order to sooth the soul when it comes to that kind of betrayal. There is no indication that the lead is seeking to forgive his father. Therefore, his sacrifice is based on pride, not a surrendering to the Lordís will. This determined sacrifice must be like building a great home on sand.

DVD Alternative: Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall plays a country singer on the skids who turns his life around, with the help of a religious widow and her son. Tender Mercies is full of positive examples of the Christian lifestyle. The small role of a country minister is depicted with a genuineness seldom seen in the movies. I make very few exceptions concerning the misuse of Godís name in a film, even one bent on showing the difference in a manís life, once he decides to follow biblical teachings. I suppose I defend this film because with the use of profanity, it is made clear that the lead is at war with God. After he becomes a Christian, his life is new, his old lifestyle defeated. Heís still having to deal with lifeís struggles, but he is at peace with God. PG (A few profanities are heard from the male lead in an opening scene, but a Christian woman has an effect on his life and it is revealed that he becomes a Christian. He stops drinking and swearing and becomes a more contemplative and compassionate person).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around 95 uses of the f-word and several uses of the s-word.

Profanity: Six misuses of Jesusí name.

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 85 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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