A man gets into his BMW at night at a massive construction site and starts out toward London, about an hour and a half away. He is the man in charge of this construction. He starts making calls and getting calls on his hands-free phone. A gigantic concrete pour, the largest (non-military) one ever in Europe, is to start at 5:30 AM, and he has to be there to supervise it … only he can’t. I won’t reveal his reason for missing this critically important moment of his life, though you will know it fairly soon into the movie. He is also supposed to be at home with his family, watching the Big Game with his sons, but he won’t be there, either. For the next ninety minutes we watch him and listen to his phone calls as, in approximately real time, he barrels down the nighttime M6.
I won’t get into the family calls, though they are heartbreaking. The other half of his calls are from, no surprise, the increasingly panicky and angry calls he gets from his underlings and superiors. This man is an engineer. He is predisposed to think that, if he remains calm and patient, he can explain what needs to be done, both to co-workers and family. Naturally, it’s not as simple as that.
Sometimes a director sets himself a tough challenge, as in the movie I saw recently that takes place entirely in a coffin buried somewhere in the Middle East, where a man fights for his life against those who are trying to ransom him. This is not quite that claustrophobic, but it’s close. We never really leave the car, and we never see anyone but the man, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). If you had told me before that I could be utterly involved in a story about a big concrete pour … you would have been wrong. It takes the family story to make it work. But when you add it all together, I was fascinated by all his difficulties, family and concrete. I suspect this is not for everyone, but if you like an odd movie, give this a try.