Seeing that Locked Down is a film about a couple dealing with their relationship that has fallen apart and is directed by Doug Liman, it would be easy to label Locked Down as Mr. and Mrs. Smith Lite. But, that would not be correct. Neither would Mr. and Mrs. Smith Pandemic Edition. Locked Down is a different film, dealing with different themes and it lacks any gunfights or minivan/car chases.
Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Linda (Annie Hathaway) are a former couple who are locked down together in the same house because of COVID-19. Their relationship ended before Christmas and months later, they find themselves almost trapped together and bickering endlessly. Linda works for a large multi-national corporation and continues to get promoted even without trying. Paxton had a run in with the law and has been down on his luck ever since. His problems have him depressed to the point of not being able to sleep. He blames fate for all his problems, but the movie makes it seem that fate may have other plans for both Paxton and Linda. Somewhere during the runtime of the movie, writer Steven Knight decides to also wedge a heist film in there.
The ensemble cast of the film is great and they are what make the film so entertaining. It is fun seeing Annie Hathaway (why do I keep writing Annie instead of Anne, see here) and Chiwetel Ejiofor onscreen together. They make a believable couple and both are fantastic in their roles. It was fun to see the random cameos throughout the film including Ben Kingsley (who is particularly hilarious in this film), Ben Stiller, Stephen Merchant and Mindy Kaling.
The film was made in 18 days and I could not tell. While Locked Down is a low-budget film, the production values and pure quality of the movie make it look like so much more. The film perfectly captures the pandemic life that we are all living through together. The quip about toilet paper was spot on. The endless video conferences are captured precisely as they are in real life complete with audio being out of sync and overly compressed videos. The film perfectly captures the pajama-life that a lot of us have comfortably slipped into (I am guilty as charged with this one).
There are three different films smashed into this two-hour movie. There is a film about two people trapped at home during a pandemic. There is a film about a couple working to mend their differences and fall in love again. And strangely, and most out of place, there is a film about a diamond heist. The sum of the parts does not live up to the parts themselves. I can imagine this film being a short film, or a 90-minute film, that focuses just on the first two parts – the pandemic and couple falling in love again. The heist portion of the film was just too much.
Having said all that, I was entertained by Locked Down. There is enough in the film with the three parts that it kept my attention throughout the film. It got me to chuckle quite a few times. And the heist portion of the film, while out of place, was genuinely thrilling.
Watched at home, streamed on HBO Max.
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