Actor Tom Hardy dominates the screen – in fact, he’s practically the only person up there – in this stagey but absorbing drama about a man at his wits’ end. Ivan Locke (Hardy) leaves his job as a construction engineer one evening and drives to London. On the way, in real time, he interacts on the phone with the voices of his increasingly perplexed work associates, his distraught wife and sons, and a woman who happens to be in the hospital at that moment giving birth to Ivan’s child. As the tension ascends, so does Hardy’s performance. Writer-director Steven Knight -- he wrote Eastern Promises
and Dirty Pretty Things
-- wisely relies on Hardy’s presence, and the strategy works. Vivid voice support by Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Ben Daniels as the people on the other end of the line. Tough but rewarding. A truly exceptional film (85 min.).