Monday Movies ~ 15th June 2020

Our first offering this week was Phil’s choice. Due to his work shifts we couldn’t do the Thursday movie so I gave over my Saturday slot, and he chose a movie he’s seen advertised on Netflix starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Advertised as a ‘buddy cop crime thriller’, Phil thought it would be a good fun light relief kind of movie. Righteous Kill (2008) directed by Jon Avnet who I’d not heard of, (and now I know why). Given two great actors and a generic twisty plot, Avnet manages to make a car crash of a movie.

Pacino and De Niro are always good to watch, but the novelty of that soon wears off. I’d guessed the ‘twist’ in the plot in the first 20 minutes, but what was going on and when was all over the place, poor continuity and flow and the ending is really naff too. I won’t do spoilers incase anyone is daft enough to want to see this. It has some good actors in it, Carla Gugino as De Niro’s love interest, Brian Dennehy as the two cops boss, and 50 cents as a nightclub owner/drug dealer, I can only assume they all did it for the money. My favourite critic review for this ~  “The entire movie is one big build-up to a twist that, while not exactly cheating, plays an awfully cheap trick. To get there, writer Russel Gewirtz and director John Avnet sacrifice mystery, suspense, sensible editing and everything else one expects to find in a police thriller just to keep the audience off-guard. It’s not worth it, and the first real pairing of De Niro and Pacino is utterly wasted”. – Ken Fox of TV Guide

Anyways Phil apologised 🤣 and we’ll never speak of it again.

So Phil’s at work today, and it’s Sunday which is ironing day so I picked a movie to watch whilst doing it. I’d wanted to see Tom Hardy in ‘Locke’ (2013) for a while but Phil didn’t seem overly bothered (one man in a car doesn’t sound exciting really!) and at 1 hour 24 mins long, it’s a great fit for a pile of ironing!

The film is written and directed by Stephen Knight, (who I have heard of! 🙂 ) and takes place in a BMW X5, driven by Hardy from Birmingham to London. Hardy is the only person on screen for the whole movie. He plays Ivan Locke, a construction supervisor for a company who are building a huge building, with a concrete pour due at 5am. At the same time, a lady, Bethan, with whom Locke had a one night stand with seven months before has gone into premature labour, and in spite of his responsibilities at home and work, he decides to drive to London to be with her for the birth, as his own father abandoned him as a child.

He has 36 phone calls during the journey, with his boss Gareth (Ben Daniels) (who comes up as ‘Bastard’ on his screen when he rings 🙂 ), with his backup colleague, cider drinking Donal (Andrew Scott) his distressed wife Katrina (Ruth Wilson) sons Eddie and Sean (Tom Holland & Bill Milner) and the highly strung Bethan (Olivia Coleman). During the course of the journey he loses his job, his marriage, and his home, and has to coach Donal regarding the concrete pour in between. I’ll leave it there so as not to do the spoiler thing.

Tom Hardy is far removed from his gangster/action man/bad guy roles, here he is a man who’s life is going tits up and he’s trying to juggle all the pieces and hold it all together and he does it so well, it’s a wonderful, nuanced performance, and it was easy to forget Hardy and feel for Ivan. I was in tears at one point.

The movie only took 8 nights to shoot, the car being pulled down the M6 & M1 on a low flatbed trailer,with the phone calls being done in real time, the road and car noise included, and the other actors calling in from a conference room that served as the multiple “locations” of the various characters.

I can’t find a single bad review of this movie, and my favourite one is “There are films to see on huge screens, but this is one that almost cries out for a small cinema, surrounded by total blackness. It’s a daring experiment brilliantly executed, with Tom Hardy giving one of the best performances of his career”.– Ollie Richards from Empire magazine.