As a film producer, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of living through days where, not only did everything that could go wrong, and even some that couldn’t, did go wrong, but it was also my responsibility to come up with solutions for the different-alarm fires that ensued. Ivan Locke isn’t a film producer, but the day he has as Locke unfolds makes me squirm in empathy.
At the beginning of Charlie McDowell’s (yet another first-time filmmaker; 2014 was quite a year for them) The One I Love, Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) attempt to reenact a romantic event from the night they met in hopes that it will transport them back to a time when they were happy, but it doesn’t work, not least because the world around them, it turns out, can’t be relied on to cooperate. Undeterred, however, their unnamed therapist (Ted Danson) sends them away for the weekend to a place he claims will do the trick; considering the house in question is so beautiful it almost resembles an Italian villa, it’s easy to understand his optimism.
In Kill Bill, Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo tries to embark on a normal life, but is deliberately and cruelly pulled back into the world of contract villains. For John Wick, once apparently the Chris Kyle of the New York Russian underworld, the normal life comes to an end thanks to a senseless, random act of violence – but it’s no less effective in awaking a sleeping bear and sending us on a wild revenge-thriller ride, one that’s as violent as Kill Bill but is also, thanks to the direction of stuntmen David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, quite visually satisfying in its own right.