In director Steven Knight's new movie Locke, Tom Hardy stars as the title character, Ivan Locke, who is head of projects for a construction company. The movie is set solely inside Locke's car as Tom Hardy delivers a focused and intimate performance that rounds off a technical masterpiece thanks to the production team.

For a 'man in a car' movie, the film works well within its own narrative simplicity. Instead of working towards a more sensationalist narrative, what the movie does well is to ground the story in terms of framing the mundaneness of human universality. While certain plot specifics deny this central idea, ultimately the movie is a telling portrayal of the lives we pass on the road on a daily basis; the world that exist within an automobile and the people inside and their lives.

The central character is not a likeable figure; an adulterous man who resents his murky and macabre personal history with his father. The script hints at a murderous connection between the central protagonist and his paternal relation that could be real or part of Locke's imagination. What works well is the gradual unpeeling of the facades that Locke has put in place in his life. This is done in the most simplistic way over the course of the movie by having the central character speak to his wife, colleagues, son and pregnant mistress (the wife and mistress are voiced by Olivia Colman and Ruth Wilson). The movie works well because of the absence of elements that could lead to a more explosive story. Knowing nothing about the movie before going in to the theatre, I was expecting to see people being murdered down the telephone as the director turned everything up to eleven. Instead what I got was an intimate movie about how much a person's life exists beyond the engine and windows of a vehicle. This is done so well, that driving through the streets may never seem the same after seeing this movie because it makes you consider the lives of those in the vehicles around you.

A movie like this has such a sense of specificity in terms of the setup, that if the performance of the central character is not perfect then the movie will fail. Tom Hardy is superb in the title role as he brings gravitas, arrogance, vulnerability and a sense of sociopathic empathy to his portrayal. The supporting cast are also superb despite the fact that none of them appear on screen.

As a piece of guerrilla-like movie making, what the director does here is superb. I can't imagine what permits and assurances were required to shoot the picture. Also the cinematographer, Haris Zambarloukos, is superb as he moves his camera eloquently from exterior shots of the car while also making the interior of the vehicle feel like it is an organic part of the story itself.

The main problem that the picture has is that whilst it's underplayed, its understated nature makes it difficult to maintain the tension and emotionality of its best scenes In my opinion it may have benefitted from some of the oppressiveness of Knight's previous work such as Eastern Promises (2007).

Locke is a great piece of cinema that features one of the best central performances of the year (so far) courtesy of Tom Hardy. Unlike the concrete that the main character is so passionate about, this movie's foundations run deep.