It’s getting to that point now where all the films made during lockdown are starting to be released. We’ve had films such as Songbird and Malcolm & Marie already and now Warner Bros. are bringing their lockdown comedy-heist film to the UK this week after its debut on HBO MAX in America earlier this year. But even a year after countries around the world started going into lockdown, it’s still too soon to be making films about COVID and about lockdown.
Locked Down has a really strong premise and and a great trailer, it seemed as if the filmmakers weren’t just making a film set in lockdown for the sake of it. The film follows Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his wife Linda (Anne Hathaway) who are beginning to fall apart and from each other. Just as the couple are preparing to split up, lockdown hits and they’re forced to stay together in their rather luxurious London home. The couple then decide to pull off a jewellery heist at the department store Harrods, because the store and the streets will all be empty. Setting the story during lockdown seemed relevant and important to the story and on paper the concept, exciting, but in practice, it really wasn’t.
One of the main reasons why Locked Down didn’t work was that it wasn’t really a heist movie. It felt like a generic, bland ninety-minute romcom with thirty minutes of heisting tacked onto the end to add a bit of excitement. The highlight of the film was definitely the final thirty minutes of the film. But the fact you have to sit through ninety minutes of unfunny, boring and frankly depressing scenes before you get to the heist was rather disappointing.
The film makes a big deal about how tough lockdown was (and still is) for everyone but it’s very difficult to connect with the two main characters. You’re unable to feel their struggle despite the fact that their relationship is falling apart, when they’re living in a very plush house, Linda is laying off half a dozen of her employees and they’re planning a diamond heist. It all feels very shallow and even though there are some moments when the NHS and healthcare workers are praised, the film feels very one-dimensional. It’s a real shame as the filmmakers had an interesting premise but did absolutely nothing with it.
There was also just too much mention of COVID and talk of people coughing or ‘having had it’ and it just makes the film unnecessarily bleak. The film doesn’t constantly need to remind the audience about the pandemic and the dire state of the world, particularly when the film is being released during the pandemic. Perhaps this will be more vital to the film and the storytelling in the future when we’re out of this mess.
Dir: Doug Liman
Scr: Steven Knight
Prd: Steven Knight, Doug Liman, Michael Lesslie, Richard Whelan
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anne Hathaway
DOP: Remi Adefarasin
Music: John Powell
Run time: 118 minutes
Locked Down is available to rent on digital platforms from 11th March