Locked Down: Film Review

Locked Down

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor fronting a romantic comedy-heist movie set during London’s first lockdown? Sounds bizarre but sign me up!

Hathaway and Ejiofor are Linda and Paxton, a longtime couple who have lost their spark, sleep in separate rooms, and are basically living as strangers in their own house. They have essentially broken up and plan to part ways for real once the lockdown is over. In addition to their romantic frustrations, Linda is considering quitting her job as the CEO of Miracore UK after having to make most of her staff redundant with no notice, and Paxton is on furlough, depressed and feeling a sense of despair about his life, frustrated that he can’t get a better job than a delivery driver due to a conviction 10 years ago.

His boss Malcolm (Ben Kingsley) calls him up and asks him to make a few high-value deliveries from department stores over the course of a week – using a false identity due to his criminal history – while Linda has to clear out the stock from an in-store jewellery and accessories event that never took place at Harrods due to the lockdown. The centrepiece of the event was the Harris Diamond, a £3 million jewel hidden in the vault at the luxury store, with its replica on display on the shop floor. Realising their schedules align, Linda and Paxton concoct a plan to steal the diamond.

Does the plot sound awfully contrived to you? That’s because it really is! The logistics of how the heist comes together are worthy of an eye roll. The movie isn’t a heist film in the usual sense – if you’re going into this expecting something in the vein of the Ocean’s franchise, you’ll be disappointed, because it’s more a case of the fates aligning to make the opportunity present itself and they decide if they should take it or not. Although it was cool to see inside Harrods during the lockdown, the heist itself is rather anticlimactic as there’s not much high-stakes tension or thrill involved.

Locked Down, directed by Doug Liman, is much more successful in the romantic comedy domain, although it is more amusing and entertaining than laugh-out-loud funny. I liked Hathaway and Ejiofor as these characters; I thought they very charming and had great chemistry as a couple stuck in a rut unable to figure a way out. I also enjoyed being able to relate to the mundane details of lockdown life, such as queuing for the shop and remembering a mask before you go, as well as the Clap for Carers and all the technical issues you might encounter working from home. It encapsulated the “life on hold” feeling quite well, although it is set in the first wave of the lockdown and we now know that it’s going to be another year or so before that feeling goes away.

As well as the two lead performers, there are some enjoyable virtual appearances from famous faces, like Ben Stiller as Linda’s boss Solomon and Mindy Kaling as her former Harrods colleague Kate, and Dule Hill and Jazmyn Simon as David, Paxton’s half-brother, and his wife Maria, while you also get in-person appearances from Stephen Merchant and Lucy Boynton as Harrods employees.

Sure, the heist element doesn’t quite work and it could have been funnier, but I quite enjoyed Locked Down as a light-hearted, amusing take on pandemic life. Some people might not think it’s the right tone but as someone who handles doom and gloom with humour, this works well for me.

Available to rent at home on premium video-on-demand platforms from Thursday 11th March

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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