Locke

 
Taut one-man drama explores faulty human relationships.
  • Review Date: April 23, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You can't overstate the importance of righting a wrong, even if it means going to great lengths and undergoing great pain.

Positive role models

Locke is resolute and determined. He's also willing to step up to the plate after making a big mistake.

Violence

Some yelling during phone calls. While driving, a man hits the steering wheel out of frustration.

Sex

A man discusses his infidelity.
 

Language

Frequent strong swearing, including "f--k," "bastard," "arse," "s--t," "hell," "Jesus," one use of "c--t," and lots of British slang.

Consumerism

The BMW logo is quite visible throughout the film.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character talks (on the phone) about having beers while working.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Locke is a tense, sleek, and deeply engrossing thriller that revolves around a construction manager (Tom Hardy) on the verge of professional and relationship suicide. There's no nudity or violence (except for a man hitting the steering wheel while driving) and virtually no drinking or drugs, save for a verbal reference. But there's plenty of strong swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and more), and the material is intense -- particularly a wrenching admission of infidelity and two boys' reaction to the discovery that all may not be well with their parents' marriage.

What's the story?

A fateful phone call sends construction manager LOCKE (Tom Hardy) driving through the night to another city, leaving his wife and two sons bewildered at home and his boss displeased at his abandonment of a project. It's the night before the biggest concrete pour in the country, and Locke is in charge ... until he has to inform his boss of his detour, which will make him miss being on-site. Even worse, the call requires Locke to confess to his wife (AKA the doting mother of his two boys) about an indiscretion. Will Locke lose it all?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Taut, tense, and terrific, Locke is a textbook example of fine acting by the very talented Hardy. Without his deft and nuanced heavy lifting, this move would sadly be over before it even begins. After all, a movie set in a car, featuring just one character talking on a hands-free phone the entire time, doesn't seem like enough to hang an entire production on. But thanks to Hardy, it's more than enough. 

He grips the audience throughout the entire ride and manages to find the complexities in a seemingly simple script. All at once, Locke's journey becomes a meditation on marriage, fatherhood, and morality. Viewers will feel like they're in the backseat of a vehicle being driven by a very interesting, and very pained, man, and they'll be fully invested by the end. The script does overplay some emotional moments -- especially as Locke deals with the fallout from his confession -- but thankfully, there aren't too many of these missteps. As Locke speeds toward his destination, physically and emotionally, you'll find yourself desperately wanting to be there when he arrives.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how different Locke is from other dramatic thrillers. What makes it thrilling? Does a film need to have action to fall into ghat category?

  • Is Locke a good man? What is he trying to prove about taking responsibility?

  • Do the characters -- and their reactions -- seem realistic and believable to you?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 25, 2014
DVD release date:August 12, 2014
Cast:Tom Hardy
Director:Steven Knight
Studio:A24
Genre:Thriller
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language throughout

This review of Locke was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byMaWalker66 August 15, 2014
age 11+
 

Awful!

Locke is one of the worst movies of all time, in my opinion. How anyone managed to like it, or why ew gave it an A, is beyond me. It is so boring, and I don't get why they made it into a film, because pretty much nothing happens, except a man making a couples of phone calls. Tom Hardy was great, but that was the only good thing about the film. You should also know that every character swears a lot, and it does not add anything to the film. The profanity is awful and ridiculous. Terrible, crappy, movie.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah May 18, 2014
age 13+
 

Very solid, but still could be a bit more.

This is more of a movie that works based on its execution as opposed to its concept. The stuff that's happening isn't revolutionary or anything but I appreciate how it's handled. Tom Hardy is the only face shown the entire time, which works because he's terrific here. The film is interesting and just different enough, if a tiny tiny bit boring at times, and it's only 80 minutes excluding credits. I cared about what happened thanks to Hardy's performance and the themes that are explored since they're rather universal. The movie looks very good mainly due to its use of lights and the score is good (but a little bit distracting at one time). This isn't an amazing movie but it is solid and the filmmaking and acting here is just so good that it remains a cut above most dramas. 8.1/10, really good, above average, one thumb up, etc.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent Written byjohnswanson November 2, 2014
age 15+
 

Taut thriller may not interest teens (tons of profanity).

This movie was 85 minutes of Tom Hardy in a car talking on the phone. I know this sounds boring, but it is not. There is tension and it builds and builds as more and more about Hardy's character and his situation is revealed. It's amazing to watch an actor's face for that long and see the range of emotions. Most kids and teens will find this boring, but discerning adults will appreciate this unique film. There is tons of profanity, but other than that this one is pretty tame. You could also call it a long commercial for BMW since he doesn't have to stop for gas. :)
What other families should know
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass