I’ve seen Locke twice; God how I identify with it. My life on film.Its about Locke, a Welsh construction professional, leaving a Birmingham building site in his BMW, which is where he stays for the rest of the film, driving and making phone calls. His wife and two sons are expecting him home to watch a football match but Locke informs them he won't be back in time. Nor will he be at work the next day, where he's due to supervise a major concrete pour . . . a job on which £11m [and the structural dependability of a skyscraper] is riding.
Why is this reliable man going awol? It turns out that Locke once slept with a woman named Bethan [heard only on the phone] and that she became pregnant. He barely knows Bethan, he matter-of-factly tells his wife Katrina but has decided to drive to London, where the baby is due. Meanwhile there's the concrete to worry about but he is determined to see the job through, remote-guiding his increasingly anxious deputy organising traffic closures and basically trying to do right by everyone . . . including his family, whose stability he has just quietly dynamited.
Locke believes in doing the right thing when he tells his son, ‘I'll fix it and it'll all go back to normal’.
Over 85 minutes we watch Locke attempt to deal with three different crises over the phone while he is driving to link up with Bethan in the Maternity Ward; Bethan, the Site and his bosses, and his wife. That’s it. Apart from one external shot at the beginning of the Birmingham building site the entire film is of Locke driving and talking on the phone. All the characters, the wife, the site manager, Bethan herself are just voices on the phone. But that’s all we need.
Couldn’t take my eyes off it. The Guardian sunk it without trace when it came out with a two-star review although I see now they have had one of their other cinema critics take a look and he has bumped it to four stars.
Me? I lived like this for the last ten years of my working life; didn’t get anyone pregnant but I know that like Locke, I would have done the right thing if I had.
At all costs.