Out next week on Blu-Ray and DVD, Steven Knight's film Locke is one of the most unique films you're likely to see this year. Shot entirely in one location, namely the inside of a car on a long motorway journey, the film stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a humble, blue-collar construction project manager whose carefully managed life unravels over the course of one car ride.
The premise is very simple: Locke is making his way home to an expectant family on the eve of overseeing a key aspect of a major construction project, but en route he receives a phone call that turns his life upside down. Determined to do the right thing, he changes course, putting his job and his relationship with his family in jeopardy.
Despite a cast that includes a host of British acting talent like Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott, Hardy is the only on-screen presence throughout the film, the others only appearing as voices on the other end of series of increasingly tense phone calls. Having more in common with a one-man play than a big screen thriller, this low budget film's premise rests on the gamble of having one actor be able to engage an audience for 85 minutes. Fortunately, Hardy turns in an incredible performance that manages to keep the viewer gripped for the duration. Some beautiful cinematography helps produce a claustrophobia-inducing film that really does manage to remain gripping for its
It's not an easy task, pulling off a film shot entirely in one location, but as well as Locke there are some other good examples out there if you dig deep enough. But hey, you're all busy people, so we've done the hard bit for you: here are ten of our favourites...
Locke - Official Trailer
Not to be confused with the upcoming film starring Seth Rogan and James Franco that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un recently described as 'an act of war', Steve Buschemi stars in and directs this 2007 film about a fading TV journalist who is assigned to interview a film star. More used to grilling politicians, he finds himself stuck in the apartment owned by a blonde haired movie actress (played by Sienna Miller) who he finds vapid, overprivileged and boring. But, as the interview progresses, he finds there is more to her than he imagined.
John Cusack stars as Mike Ensin, a writer who specialises in debunking stories of a paranormal nature that checks into a New York hotel to investigate reports of a 'haunted' room. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars as the hotel's owner, who warns Enson not to stay in there, but Ensin is convinced there is a rational explanation and so books himself into room 1408 anyway. Before long things start to get weird and he begins seeing vision and hallucinations, including one of his deceased daughter that keeps arriving to taunt him, beginning a slow descent into madness as he tries to get the bottom of the strange happenings.
The film about which the term 'Gorenography' was coined, Saw has spawned as many as seven increasingly gruesome sequels, but the first film in the franchise was a low-budget horror flick set entirely in one room. A photographer and an oncologist wake up imprisoned in what looks like a large public bathroom, with a corpse lying on the floor between them holding a tape recorder and a gun. What follows is game of death in which the lives of the captives and their families are at stake, all orchestrated by a mysterious villain known as Jigsaw. Tense, violent and utterly nail-biting, James Wan's film set the template for a whole new kind of horror movie.
7. 127 Hours
Danny Boyle's film stars James Franco as a lone mountaineer and explorer on a solo expedition in the Utah mountains when an accident leaves his arm trapped under a boulder. With nobody around for miles and no way to sound the alarm, he reluctantly resorts to some pretty desperate measures to get himself free. Boyle's film is just about as absorbing as it's possible for a single-location film to be, but be warned, it's not for the faint-hearted.
6. The Breakfast Club
John Hughes made a series of classic films in the 1980s including Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but for his 1985 film The Breakfast Club the action is set almost entirely in the high school library where five students with very different personalities must serve out detention. Starring Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy, it's a classic Hughes feel good flick , albeit imbued with social commentary on subjects like domestic abuse, where the five students find common ground over some surprising issues. Oh, and it's very funny, largely thanks to Judd Nelson's character, John Bender.
5. Phone Booth
Colin Farrell stars in Joel Schumacher's film as a man whose curiosity gets the better of him when he walks past an empty phone booth that starts to ring, but he soon wishes he hadn't answered the call when he finds himself pinned to the spot by a nearby sniper (Kiefer Sutherland) who is trying to extort money from him. If he hangs up, he dies. If he calls for help, he dies. If he tries to leave... well, you get the idea.
4. Dog Day Afternoon
Starring a pair of actors from The Godfather, Al Pacino and John Cazale, Sidney Lumet's film is based on the true story of would-be bank robber John Wotjowicz. Two bank robbers attempt to rob a Brooklyn bank, but when they discover that most of the money has already been collected that day and the vaults contain a mere $1,100, the botched robbery soon turns into a hostage situation and media circus. Set entirely in and around the bank, it's a tense but often hilarious film owing to the robbers' incompetence. Highly recommended.
Vincenzo Natali's 1997 film wasn't endowed with a huge budget but the director has still managed to create a stylish and tense thriller, which features seven strangers who find themselves trapped in a seemingly endless maze filled with lethal booby traps. The different personalities clash as they try to figure out a way to escape, with some of the group insisting they need to work together, while others are just looking out for themselves. Inventive, original and totally gripping, this shows what's possible on a modest budget.
Kevin Smith's debut film is set entirely in (and on the roof of) the Quick Stop convenience store just outside New Jersey where Smith actually worked in real life. Detailing a day in the life of two store employees, the film is almost entirely about the dialogue, but despite it's low budget production values and semi-professional cast, it won several awards and is very, very funny. You can read more about the film here
1. Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film stars James Stewart as a photographer who finds himself wheelchair-bound following an accident. Unable to leave his apartment until his injuries have healed, he becomes obsessed with the activities of one of his neighbours, who he is convinced has murdered his wife. But is everything as he think it is, or is his boredom allowing his mind to play tricks on him? Co-starring Grace Kelly, the film is one of Hitchcock's best and Stewart's paranoid conviction leaves the viewer glued to the screen.