…is that this guy was not nominated for Best Actor.
And, of yeah, that his director, Steven Knight (Eastern Promises), wasn’t also recognized.
Tom Hardy spends the entire 85 minutes of Locke driving a car, and his performance is unrelentingly riveting. It’s one thing to pull off the logistics (and gimmick) of long, long takes, negotiating all kinds of obstacles and spaces and moving actors in and out of frame, as the undoubtedly talented Alejandro González Iñárritu does in Birdman (a film I loved, by the way). It’s quite another to create action in a tightly enclosed space with one actor who can barely move.
Locke is also remarkable for its pro-life message. A man who has made a right mess of his life nevertheless decides to do the best thing by the most innocent parties to his reckless choices. And the consequences, in his life and that of family and colleagues, are the obstacles he has to negotiate.
Please rent this film or I will punch you.
As for Birdman, given the nominees, I do hope Keaton wins just so he can get up there and say, “For the record…I’m Batman.” Which is really what Birdman is about. There’s been something of a backlash against this film, with critics dismissing the clichéd tension between “commercial” film and the “art” of theater, “fake” acting for a camera, as if the technology does half the work, and “real” acting before a live audience and no net. And oh the shrill contempt for the last scene, a touch of magical realism.
What constitutes serious work for an actor trying to break free from Hollywood fame as a comic-book hero? Keaton plays Riggan, who, years ago, turned his back on another Birdman sequel (think Batman meets Superman meets Spider-man) only to find himself pretty much out of the loop professionally. Late in what’s left of his career he decides to make a kind of comeback with an adaptation of a Raymond Carver tale for Broadway. But it’s not until he channels his inner Guido Anselmi and embraces all of his life, all of his choices, and yes—even Birdman—not until he owns the power of something as silly as that cartoon character, truly owns it, that he can fly as an artist.
For the rest of my life I will never forget the look on Emma Stone’s face, in the final shot of the film, as she watches her father ascend on the wings of his liberated soul.
Keaton was a lot of fun to watch. But Hardy was great.