8 Of The Best One-Man Films

Tom Hardy's 'Locke' is an engrossing hour and a half of one man in his car. Here are some other actors who have carried movies on their own

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One man drives from the Midlands to south London alone. On the way he spends an hour and a half on his hands-free set, talking to friends and loved ones.

As movie pitches go it's not exactly Jurassic Park, but Tom Hardy’s one man thriller Locke is a minimalist masterpiece that reminds you compelling film making, first and foremost, is about script and performance.

As Locke hits the cinema, we pick out eight other movies that have one, central performance at their core. 

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1 | Castaway, 2000

Tom Hanks is a Fed Ex employee washed up on an island after a plane crash. With only a blood-smeared volleyball for company, the main man is left to carry most of the narrative all alone. 


2 | Moon, 2009 

Depleted of its oil supplies, the earth has to look to the giant silver satellite in the sky for fuel. Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut nearing the end of a solo three-year mining stint, with only a Kevin Spacey-voiced computer for company. 

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3 | 127 Hours, 2007

James Franco plays the real-life climber who has the brilliant idea of going mountaineering the in the middle of nowhere without telling anyone where he is. A fall leads to him being trapped between a rock face and a boulder, where he spends days hours drifting in and out of memories about past lovers and family members. An escape comes when he hacks off his arm with a near blunt knife. Fun. 


4 | All Is Lost, 2013

Another forlorn fella cast adrift. Robert Redford (in older, craggy guise) is lost at sea, coming to terms with his own mortality. The film also has pretty much no dialogue, making the dramatic tension all that more impressive. 


5 | Buried, 2010 

The common fear of being buried alive is the basis of this Ryan Reynolds thriller. An American truck-driver working in Iraq wakes up to find himself in a wooden coffin, accompanied by only a BlackBerry, lighter, knife, flask and pen. A ransom is on his life, but, with the US government refusing to work with terrorists, his ordeal becomes grimmer and grimmer. 


6 | Silent Running, 1972

This cult sci-fi film has a few extra characters at the start, but after a few scenes, its up to Bruce Dern to carry the weight of this eco morality tale with a stark vision of the future. 


7 | I Am Legend, 2007

Another harrowing vision of what lies in store for the residents of Planet Earth. Scientist Will Smith might be the last human alive following an outbreak of a deadly, man-made virus. Though he does have his dog to talk to, so maybe that makes it easier. 


8 | Secret Honour, 1984 

Richard Nixon's post-Watergate hours are rich pickings for film makers (see 2008's Frost / Nixon) and is certainly enough to maintain 90 minutes of solo screen time. Phillip Baker Hall sustains a tangent-ridden soliloquy about the true reasons for election-rigging and his subsequent resignation. 

 

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