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Stars: Tom Hardy. Voices: Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson, Tom Holland, Bill Milner, Ben Daniels, Kirsty Dillon

Director: Steven Knight

There can't be many movies set entirely in a moving car, with only one actor on screen. And, whatever you're expecting to happen here, you're going to be surprised. At least for a while.

Welshman Ivan Locke (Hardy) is the building manager and guiding force behind a huge construction project. But, on the eve of the first pile being driven in, to herald the pouring of the concrete and beginning of building, Locke gets into his car and prepares to drive from the Midlands down to London, where a lonely, frightened 43-year-old spinster, Bethan (Colman) is expecting his baby - the one indiscretion from his 15-year marriage to Katrina (Wilson), which has given him two sons (Holland, Milner).

Back at the site, Locke's bosses are going ape, even though he assures them that everything will be OK, methodically going through all the things necessary to ensure the project runs smoothly with his assistant Donal (Scott).

As he drives south, receiving panicky calls from Bethan and launching a stream of foul-mouthed bitterness against the ghost of his father, Locke's carefully organised and compartmentalised life is falling apart.

The role is obviously a potential tour de force for any actor, and Hardy doesn't disappoint. It's what we once called a film with a gimmick, but the gimmick here can't quite sustain it all the way through. Tiredness with one setting sets in as surely as it does for the cold-ridden central character (brilliantly played by the star) as he fights desperately to keep the threads of his life together.

At the end of the day, you can't quite suppress the thought that if he'd have waited a day, then gone and seen the baby, ignoring Bethan's pleas for him to be there, Locke could have saved himself a lifetime of grief.

David Quinlan

UK 2013. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour by deluxe.
84 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 13 Apr 2014