If your movie is set in just one place and if that place is a car, it’s extremely important that the director, screenwriter and the producer choose the right car for the main protagonist. Ivan Locke, the main character in the movie Locke, that was set in a car, is driving BMW X5. Was that the right choice for a car? Let’s see if we can get the answer.

Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke (2014, A25, screen capture)
Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)

Locke is a 90-minute movie about Ivan Locke, a British guy, dedicated family man and successful construction manager, who receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his careful cultivated existence (source: IMDB).

Who is Ivan Locke, this unusual, yet unique and fully rounded film character? Locke is a construction manager and possibly an engineer, a very precise, methodical and responsible man, who has everything planned out in advance. He does not hesitate and is determined at what he does. He’s aware of the consequences of his activities, but he proceeds nevertheless. He doesn’t hide, but takes responsibility. He even drives by the rules. He doesn’t want chaos, but order. He speaks quietly, never raises his voice. He does not calculate or speculate, but wants to do the right thing. He needs to do the right thing, even if it’s going to ruin him.

So, where does that leave BMW?

BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)
BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)

BMW is a luxury German car maker with a long and rich history. Its current slogan is Sheer Driving Pleasure.

In an interview from 2013 BMW’s Head of Design Karim Habib explained BMW’s core values. He talked about the important values of industrial design, and said that all BMW cars must display an air of precision. The conclusion is that perfection in design can only be achieved if form and function are in perfect balance, and the proportion is just right.

BMW Group website also states that “long-term thinking and responsible action are the basis of the company’s economic success.” For the BMW brand they say that “ours is a passionate promise for the future, born from our unique history of reinvention. We don’t just build cars. Our innovations create emotion, enthusiasm, fascination and thrills.”

In the last few days I searched the internet to find as precise information about BMW brand identity and brand personality as possible.

BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)
BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)

Brand identity is a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist seeks to create or maintain. It’s how a business wants a brand’s name, communication style, logo and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers. A brand identity provides direction, purpose and meaning for the brand.

I’ve found out that BMW stands for finest designing and product consistency.

On the other hand brand personality represents a set of human characteristics associated with a brand. Brand personality, like human personality, is both distinctive and enduring. It refers to the outcome of all the consumer’s experiences with the brand.

BMW drivers have more to prove, are less open to change, and are more competitive. A typical owner type is progressive, stylish, urban cool, creative, inspirational, design oriented, sporty and motivated.

BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)
BMW X5 in Locke (2013, A24, screen capture)

So, is BMW appropriate brand to be Ivan Locke’s car? Director Steven Knight said in the interview that there was no subtext when choosing the car; they just wanted a big car to reflect the character. Locke is quite successful construction manager and BMW X5 is a good car for his profession, because he must also drive to construction sites. Knight admitted it made sense to choose this car.

Not only is BMW X5 good fit for Locke from the character’s professional success point of view, BMW also stands for determination, consistency and motivation. And during the duration of the movie we realized that Ivan Locke is very similar: motivated and determined to do the right thing.

Would some other brand fit the description? Maybe, but BMW X5 was an excellent choice.