A Filmmaker’s Kind Of Movie – Locke

I was wanting to watch the movie ‘John Wick’, as it had not got much of a theatrical release here in Blighty, so checked to see when it was coming to one of the subscription services. Netflix and all the other streaming services had a date of February third. Brilliant, I’ve got Netflix, I thought, i’ll fire up that bad boy and enjoy one hundred minutes of action! Of course it was not available – damn you Netflix! – so I ended up watching ‘Locke’.

‘Locke’, as I say in the title, is not a film for everyone. The entire film is set in a car. There are no chases, crashes, flips or de’er doing of any kind. It is just the story of a good man who makes a life changing decision as the consequences of one night’s, long since passed, poor choice. It is Ivan Locke’s life unravelling. All set in a car.

Tom Hardy, the actor playing Locke, will never be a superstar. He will never open a film, because there is no ‘Tom Hardy’ film. That’s a good thing. In this film he is Ivan Locke. One never sees him as a character from any of his previous films, you just see the story of this man, Locke, on a fateful journey.

So why is this a filmmaker’s film? Even though the entire film takes place in the car, the camera work and editing is joyful. There are things that one may have read about or heard spoken of – the quadrant system as seen here –  the lighting, the overlapping edits, fades and of course, the script. This is not necessarily a big screen film, but, given the lack of physical action, it is still more than a stagy monologue. In fact on stage I suspect it would be quite flat. The fact that he is on a journey, the suddenness with which he has taken the decision and the impact it has on his life, make this a highly watchable film.

As I have mentioned, it is not for everyone, but, if like me, you want to be a filmmaker, this is one not to miss.

If.

What he had never learnt, understood, was that being ordinary, getting by or coasting along, just was not going to be enough. This was not the seventies. This was no longer the era of the working classes. Even those who still claimed to be of working class stock, had embraced the ethos of mixing with and shopping like the middle classes. But he did not get it.
Being a manager use to be something. He had been a manager once. Not a very good one, but one nonetheless. It had not worked out so well, so he went back to being an assistant manager.
The move out of retail had come soon after that. Try something else; be happy. The money will come. Haha. He moved sideways. Not retail but still customer service, still mediocre. Waiting. Something will come up. Something must come up.
He did not starve. Neither a pauper or a rich man. Just constantly in limbo, below the middle. Twenties pass. Thirties pass. People die, leaving a mark; or not. Would he leave a mark? He did not think think so. Twenty plus years below the middle was too much. Embarrassing. No one asked what do you want to do. They asked what you were doing. Everybody is doing something. He could not still be looking, could he? For goodness sake! There were people his age who were thinking about retirement! In fact, some had already.
There had been such promise. Not much granted. He had been shocking at sport and fair to middling academically, but there had been a flicker; a kernel of hope. Hope that he might achieve beyond mere employment or avoidance of incarceration. Might prove better than his own doubts, his own limitations. That he might defeat the voices.
The doubters had long departed, forging lives of plenty elsewhere. The age of sport had passed and academia had become an irrelevance. The voices however remained. He could not escape them.
Logic fought to defy them, but as the years went by, the dark truths of their whispering kept coming. It was all in his head. Absolutely it was. Highlighting of life’s failings, reliving bad decisions, missed opportunities. All played and fought for supremacy, day after day, ever reminded that his life could have been so different if…

That time of year.

With 2013 drawing to a close – my second short goes live 31/12/13 ‘WebSights’ – the time for reflection is upon most of us. With this being a film blog and that being the dream I am pursuing, I have been reflecting on my fledgling career as a would be filmmaker.
I don’t know if it was ignorance, lack of confidence or just that it never came to mind , but I never harboured any ambitions to direct. Strangely, it never occurred to me to, even with the ease of accessibility of technical equipment- video cameras, YouTube – to make a film. I was always about the script. I suppose, if I really think about it, there was always a sort of safety in writing, in the story not leaving the page. As long as it remains a script, the faults – over writing, flat scenes, pointless lines – can be hidden in the abstract prose that is a script.
When you make the thing and edit it, it becomes a very different beast. There is also a sense of responsibility to the other collaborators; camera, actors, friends, partner, they are all trusting you to fulfil a vision that does not make them feel as though they wasted a day of their lives!
Getting a little off topic here – reviewing the year. I made two films. My first and second film, both as DIY filmmaking school projects; just jumping in and doing it, with very little technical know, just hurtling forward with wide eyed enthusiasm. I had, somewhat ambitiously on reflection, wanted to make four short films this year, but I am happy that I got two under my belt. Not only did I get to see my own work come to life, but I also realised and learned that I like directing my own work. Whether I would feel that way on a bigger project is something for the future, but for now, everything I write, I direct.
I also learned a lot about editing and colouring! My second film was such a learning, challenging and rewarding experience. From the casting, shooting, recalling actors, brutal editing – a nine page script became a four minute film! – colouring, recolouring and recolouring, quick edit promos, it has been hard and frustrating at times, but ultimately I am happy with the results and the lessons learned. In fact I cannot wait to instigate my next project! As far as my ambition in film is concerned, 2013 was a pivotal year, showing me that it is something that I not only enjoy, but something I want to do. Now that I know I can get a film made, I can’t wait to attack 2014.