Have you ever been in a situation
where you’ve really, truly, awfully and irrevocably messed up?
And there’s no going back?
And there are no good options remaining?
How do you decide the way to navigate through the
morass before you? Knowing
that your answers may say more about you than your messing up in the first
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a very
successful construction manager in
, who enjoys a stalwart reputation as the man you want in
charge when the concrete starts pouring.
He takes pride in the way that he goes over every
detail, from supplier content to requested road closings from local
been doing this for 9 years for the same company, so he even has a few tricks
up his sleeve for when something unforeseen happens, like needing competent
extra crew at the last minute (he knows some guy who owes him a favor).
Ivan Locke is also a happily married man, for 15
years, and a family man, with two sons, whom he loves dearly, and enjoys
rooting with them for their favorite “football” (soccer) team.
In fact, this particular evening, his wife and
sons are anxiously awaiting his arrival home so they can all watch the big
game together. She’s
already prepared the sausage and bought the beer to enjoy in front of the
sounds like just the kind of family togetherness evening he needs after a long
day at the office, and on the eve of the “big pour” in the morning, where
he’s supposed to manage an enormous foundation-laying for a new high-rise
But Ivan Locke is not going home.
In fact, he’s on his way out of town.
Because tonight he’s determined to be at the
side of the woman who’s having his baby.
No, he doesn’t love her.
He’d worked with her on a dicey out-of-town
project, and at its successful conclusion they were celebrating together, and
well….it just happened.
Afterwards, Ivan Locke went home and tried to
pretend that it wouldn’t affect anything, but then she called to tell him
she’s pregnant. And
since she’s forty and single and childless, she’s determined to go through
Ivan has just not been able to
bring himself, before now, to tell his wife.
He knows how devastated she will be, and he just
hasn’t been able to steel himself to face her understandable hurt and anger.
It’s been easy to postpone that moment of
agonizing anguish, but now there’s no putting it off any longer.
Ivan is determined that he’s going to be there
for the birth of his child, because he doesn’t want to be like his Dad, the
one who abandoned him and his mother when he was a baby.
In fact, some of the most dramatic
scenes in the movie are when Ivan is cussing out his Dad as if he were in the
back seat, when in fact his Dad has been gone for years.
It’s a dynamic that almost all males will
identify with----we carry the spirit of our fathers around with us wherever we
may or may not feel we’re on very good terms with that “ghost,” but
we’re still in close relationship with it, either way. It both defines who
we are and also defines who we’re determined not to be.
Sometimes we can’t measure up to his
expectations (and never will). And sometimes we’re exactly like him despite
our best efforts to become better versions.
This small-scoped movie takes place
entirely in “real time,” in Ivan’s car, on his way to the hospital, as
he alternately talks to his hysterical paramour in labor, his beloved wife in
anguish, his precious sons, his furious boss, and his frightened assistant,
who absolutely does not want to wear the supervisor’s hat in the morning.
Well, sometimes we all have to do
things we’d rather not do, and wish we could find a way out of doing.
But something outside of us compels us, and
though we know that things will never be the same again, still, we have to
decide, in the end, who we really are.
Not to everybody else.
But to ourselves.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Parish
Associate, Woodhaven Presbyterian Church,