Tom Hardy in a car for 90 minutes. Boom, there's your elevator pitch!
Writer/director Steven Knight (writer of Amazing Grace and Eastern Promises) serves up a tight little drama that features, literally, no other person on screen but ol' Bane himself. And it works!
I thought from the trailers that this might be a thriller; a crime story where Locke (Hardy) was fleeing mobsters and trying to draw villains away from his family. The Flower, after comparing the trailer to Janet Leigh's driving scenes in Psycho, speculated he had a body in his trunk. (Heh. My girl.)
This is not that kind of movie. In the most abstract sense (without spoilers) Locke is a guy who's made a serious mistake, and he's trying to make it right, even though making it right will cost him everything.
And that's really your movie. Locke is an extremely decent fellow. He's holding several worlds together single-handedly, and he's determined to keep them together from a cell phone in his car.
No joke, Locke is a classic tragic hero. Maybe not even the tragic part, since he's recognized his error (and even that seems to have stemmed from an improbable, but not impossible act of kindness). But he's definitely haunted by a jerk of a father and a need to control his life to a degree that suggests near neurosis. But even in this, he sometimes seems like the only ethical guy around.
Obviously, this movies rests heavily on Hardy's shoulders and he's well up to the task. The voice acting is done by a variety of quality British actors whom I'm not going to list here, but you've seen 'em around.
With little physical action and just voice interaction, Knight gives us a well-formed story arc, with threats and some positive resolutions, some not so positive, some ambiguous, and makes it all look easy—like what's with all these other people who need sets and special effects and more than one actor?
The Boy and I both enjoyed greatly.