Jeffrey Overstreet’s review published on Letterboxd:
This feels more faithful in spirit to the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day than the movie of that title being promoted to families right now.
Seriously, though — I'm increasingly aware of the cultural pressure to assess my life as if I am the hero of my own story, as if I must use my time here to make the biggest impression possible. Pride, especially in men, blinds us to our weaknesses so that we begin to build lives that we cannot humanly sustain, overcommitting to the point of inevitable collapses.
Behind the wheel of his car, reaching out in too many directions — by phone, not in person — Ivan Locke is an icon of the modern man who overcommits for the glory of seeing his name in the sky. But what will that name have come to represent by the time it gets there?
It may as well be a film about a megachurch pastor whose book about character and integrity is being published in the morning, but as he drives home he starts receiving messages about his church crumbling under a scandal, his marriage collapsing, and those he neglected lashing out at him. And his prayers bounce off the windshield glass.
It could have been about an actor, trying to pull of demanding roles in several projects at once so he can get his big break, only to see his name show up in the tabloids just as he's closing a deal.
It could have been about a politician.
Heck, it could someday be about me, if I let my aspirations as a writer cloud my judgment at home. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
Too bad about the screenplay, which draws an impressive map of overlapping crises, but which wears its metaphors on its sleeve, so that Tom Hardy — in a perfectly pitched performance — ends up underlining those metaphors so boldly that nobody can possibly miss them.
Still... I've always loved driving on freeways at night, and I've never seen a film capture that hypnotic dance of colors, lines, and lights better. As heavy-handed as Locke becomes, I could just watch this kaleidoscopic spectacle for hours.