Is Heist Rom-Com ‘Locked Down’ Too True to Life? [Movie Review] - Salt 106.5

Is Heist Rom-Com ‘Locked Down’ Too True to Life? [Movie Review]

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this high-stakes jewellery heist movie – the consequence of the boredom of pandemic restrictions for the couple.

By Laura BennettSaturday 22 May 2021Movies

The moment was inevitable that our COVID-lockdown experiences would hit the big screen, and it’s come up pretty quick with the romantic-comedy heist flick, Locked Down.

Starring Anne Hathaway (Oceans Eight, The Intern) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Maleficent, 12 Years a Slave), Locked Down is about Linda and Paxton, a couple driven to attempt a high-stakes jewellery heist – as being cooped up at home causes their lives, relationship and sanity to unravel.

Written and shot entirely in 2020, Locked Down really is a slice-of-life on screen.

Written and shot entirely in 2020, Locked Down really is a slice-of-life on screen.

Linda’s work meetings are all virtual, Paxton only ever communicates with his boss over FaceTime, and there are strained family relationships, as regular calls from Paxton’s half-brother send the familiar Skype trill through the home.

Unmentioned but absolutely noticeable, are Linda’s rotation of cartoon-themed pyjama pants hidden from her co-workers’ view, and the daily routine of “hold on a minute” tech issues and background fails her and her team have to endure.

If you thought your sense memory from 2020 was waning, let me tell you Locked Down brings it all back up again.

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Locked Down movie

Source: Locked Down YouTube movie trailer

In Australia, where we’ve thankfully moved passed many of the restrictions of last year, being immersed so thoroughly in the working-from-home life and abandoned streets we witnessed for a time, is oddly emotive.

You feel just how foreign so much of what became “normal” was, and really see that we’ve all been through some stuff. And that deserves reflecting on.

As Paxton decides to read poetry down his street to the “captive” neighbours, and Linda finds it thoroughly cathartic to hit pots and pans together to thank the NHS – a nod to March, 2020 – you realise the hallmarks of “COVID-life” are something historic, personal and transformative.

We all faced different challenges and opportunities, but there was a collective deconstruction of routine and expectations.

For Linda and Paxton that leads to very existential considerations of what is of value, whether or not pre-COVID morality applies, and who they could become in this “new world”.

Their ponderings are very self-indulgent and incoherent at times, yet, you don’t begrudge them for that because they’ve been house-bound for far too long (and let’s not forget, these are actors in the off-season looking for something to do).

The strength of Locked Down in bringing our real-life experiences to the screen so quickly and truthfully. though, is also its greatest weakness.

It’s hard for a heist film to be fast-paced and thrilling with the limitations of remote work, and for many around the world it’s probably too soon for this idea to be entertaining.

It’s hard for a heist film to be fast-paced and thrilling with the limitations of remote work, and for many around the world it’s probably too soon for this idea to be entertaining.

About two-thirds of the movie is actors on Zoom calls, so if you didn’t already have “screen fatigue” then Locked Down would only exacerbate the likelihood.

What really makes it worth watching, is observing the interplay between Linda and Paxton and the mental unwinding their circumstance brings about.

Between the realities of work, furlough and the “groundhog day” of it all, they’re forced into conversations they might not otherwise have had, and they’ve got time to be curious without normal life truncating that indulgence.

Locked Down is in cinemas now and rated M. It has some coarse language and mature themes, and would be recommended for adult audiences.