Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a family man with a devoted wife Katrina (Ruth Wilson) and two teenage sons, Eddie (Tom Holland) and Sean (Bill Milner).
As a construction foreman, Ivan is supposed to be channelling his time and energy into an £11million project in Birmingham.
Instead, he abandons the building site to speed to London to the bedside of co-worker Bethan (Olivia Colman), who is about to give birth to their child. Travelling at terrifying speed down the M6 and M1, Ivan races through the night to witness the birth, sacrificing everything he holds dear for that one moment.
En route, he must telephone his deputy Donal (Andrew Scott) to remotely supervise the work and explain to his family why he has abandoned them on a night they were supposed to be watching football together.
Set within the claustrophobic confines of the lead character's car, Locke is a riveting one-hander, which unfolds largely in real time.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) ventures behind the camera for the second time and he works closely with cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos to invest the picture with dynamism and dramatic momentum.
Hardy shifts nervously behind the wheel, expertly conveying the anguish of a man, who is steadily dismantling the foundations of his cosy existence. Knight cranks up tension with aplomb, only letting it dissipate - disappointingly - when he feels compelled to add a back story to justify Locke's reckless actions.