Making a feature length film that takes place in only one location with only one actor ever appearing on screen is easy; making a film of that nature that manages not to be awful and/or boring is far more challenging. Getting a good result requires a very good actor, a compelling script and a skilled director.
One film that succeeded, which is probably the most immediate example in recent memory, was Rodrigo Cortés' Buried, in which Ryan Reynolds played a truck driver who wakes up to find himself buried alive inside a coffin. In writer-director Steven Knight's new thriller Locke, Tom Hardy's character might be above ground but the situation looks no less tense as in the space of a 90-minute drive from Birmingham to Croydon he tears his life and job apart in an effort to do the right thing.
A trailer for Locke has been released and it showcases the minimalist, character-focused style of the film. Although Hardy's dialogue is peppered throughout, it's the critical accolades that really do the talking in this trailer and they also dominate the poster that was released alongside it. One of the posters for Buried had a similar design, in which Ryan Reynolds was literally buried under all the praise that the film received, but perhaps it takes a chorus of raving reviewers to convince people to watch a guy talking for 90 minutes.
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Locke is particularly notable for its very rapid turnaround. It premièred at Venice Film Festival nine months after originally being conceived (rather appropriate, given one of the central plot points) and the combined rehearsal and filming time was just two weeks.
Knight's feature directorial debut, Redemption, starred Jason Statham as an ex-special forces soldier trying to survive in London's tough criminal underworld, and passed by relatively unnoticed when it was released last summer. Hopefully with so many positive reviews behind it and a well-known actor like Hardy playing the lead, Locke will fare a little better.
Locke is out on limited release beginning April 25, 2014.