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Going it alone: Tom Hardy's Locke and 8 more incredible solo performances

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Tom Hardy delivers a mesmerising solo performance in this week's Locke, holding attention for the duration as the only actor on screen. Steven Knight's car-bound thriller is the latest in a long line of films that have zeroed in on one character and offered the lead an opportunity to flex their acting chops.

With Locke in cinemas now, Digital Spy takes a look at 8 great performances from stars going it alone.

Robert Redford (All Is Lost)
The Hollywood veteran barely utters a word in JC Chandor's nautical survival drama, but his performance as a man battling nature and his sinking yacht is still devastatingly effective. The ending leaves a note of ambiguity, but up until that point this has been a clear-eyed drama about doing what needs to be done when things go bad.


James Franco (127 Hours)
Based on Aron Ralston's ordeal trapped beneath a boulder in the canyons of Utah, this Danny Boyle film saw James Franco deliver a career-best performance and one that won him an Oscar nomination. Ralston must amputate his arm to get free, and captured by Boyle it's a moment that's excruciating for both the man himself and the audience. Ultimately, though, you leave this film feeling euphoric and alive.


Bruce Dern (Silent Running)
In Douglas Trumbull's '70s classic, Bruce Dern's Freeman Lowell is tasked with destroying Earth's remaining plant life aboard spacecraft the Valley Forge. Lowell kills his crewmates and with the help of robots Huey, Dewey and Louie he battles to save the last remaining flora in this heartfelt sci-fi story. Warning - includes Joan Baez!


Tom Hanks (Cast Away)
So many of the performances on this list centre on protagonists under extreme duress and confronting their own mortality. This was no more evident than in Tom Hanks's 2000 film Cast Away, which saw him play a man who spends years stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Hanks shed 50 lbs for the role and earned an Oscar nomination to boot. It would stand him in good stead years later for Captain Phillips, a film he largely carried from start to finish.


Sam Rockwell (Moon)
What's better than a movie revolving entirely around Sam Rockwell? One that has two Sam Rockwells! Duncan Jones's directorial debut saw the actor playing an astronaut marooned on a lunar colony for a long-haul mining job. All is not what it seems, however, as Rockwell's Sam discovers he's an expendable clone created to carry out cheap labour. Moon may owe a big debt to many of its sci-fi forefathers, but it's without question up there with some of the genre's very best.


Colin Farrell (Phone Booth)
Though he may not quite have delivered on his early promise, it's worth remembering that Colin Farrell displayed some red hot talent in his 2000 breakthrough film Tigerland. He was good after that, too, notably in 2003 thriller Phone Booth where he played an egotistical publicist held hostage by a sniper lurking in the shadows. Farrell holds it all together with an increasingly fraught performance, while there's a small measure of cinematic redemption for Batman & Robin's Joel Schumacher thanks to his slick, tight direction.


Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Astronaut Ryan Stone is cut adrift from a routine repair mission and forced to fend for herself in Alfonso Cuarón's masterful space thriller. Bullock has never been better, turning in a performance that sweeps the audience along for the breakneck ride. Her relationship with the viewer is partly key to the success - she is likeable and engaging on and off screen, meaning we're rooting for her survival. The chillier Angelina Jolie or Marion Cotillard, who were linked with the part pre-Bullock, just wouldn't have been the same.


Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
He might be better known for comedic roles such as Van Wilder and The Proposal, but Ryan Reynolds impressed in this one-man show about a truck driver who's kidnapped in Iraq and shoved in a coffin six feet under. Director Rodrigo Cortés was so taken with his leading man's performance, he even likened him to a Stradivarius.


Which solo performances in cinema do you most admire? Leave your comments in the space below!

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