REVIEW: Locked Down

There’s something quite weird about watching a film about lockdown and COVID-19 as you are currently locked in your house in an attempt to protect yourself and others from the deadly pandemic, COVID-19.

It’s like approaching a man lost in a desert, and instead of offering him a bottle of crisp, iced water, instead handing him, like, a bottle of sand.

That’s the situation we have here, with Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s relationship drama / heist movie / romantic comedy / or whatever the hell Locked Down is.

Locked Down begins, naturally, with a few shots of friends across Zoom. Of course. It’s 2021. All there is in this world is poxy Zoom and hand-washing!!!! (Sorry. I’ll take a deep breath and continue.)

I actually quite enjoyed this cold-open. It had to be done, and it was done well, with all of the annoyances you face during a Zoom call; audio being out of sync, talking over each other, and awkwardly stuttering “Sorry, you go,”, and audio echoing and sounding bloody abysmal if two people are on the same call, in the same room.

However, after the first initial moments of watching a movie through a video call, you’ve kinda ticked that off the box, haven’t you? It got repetitive after I saw Chiwetel talk to his brother-in-law via Zoom, Anne Hathaway talk to her colleagues via Zoom, Chiwetel then talk to his manager via Zoom, Anne make another call to her colleagues via Zoom – you get the idea. I don’t even talk to my best friends via Zoom anymore, because I’m so sodding bored of it.

Luckily, I quite enjoyed the concept – Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor are in a loveless marriage, but due to the UK’s lockdown (which is lasting sodding FOREVER), the pair can’t separate, and instead have to endure each other for an undetermined amount of time. At the beginning, I was even getting Marriage Story vibes from it.

I was looking forward to a mature story about a couple who were struggling to live with each other during a pandemic. I thoroughly enjoyed the petty arguments the two had; as they rowed about a piece of tinsel which was still taped to the ceiling from Christmas. I was ready for more of this, and then…

It went and got flipped turned upside down – apologies, I’m watching a lot of Will Smith during lockdown – as Locked Down became an Ocean’s 11 inspired heist film. Where the shit did that come from? The most criminal thing my girlfriend and I have done during lockdown is remove a USB from my laptop without clicking ‘Eject safely’ first.

At this point, I began to grow tired – it was obvious that as soon as they planned to steal from Harrods that their issues with one another would just disappear and they’d ride off into the sunset together. (Spoiler: they did exactly that.) Don’t get me wrong; I liked the fact that the pair didn’t abseil through laser beams and knock out security guards; it was a lot more realistic than that – in fact, most of their discussion was about whether or not they should do the heist, rather than how, which I appreciated – but it still just took a turn for the worst.

The biggest issue I have with Locked Down was that I’m still questioning one moment. Anne and Chiwetel’s character promised that after the stole a diamond worth £3,000,000, they would split it three ways; with each of them getting a million pounds, and a final million going to the NHS. This was a lovely gesture, and a nice moment for our heroes.

But did this film actually donate any money to the NHS? I haven’t managed to find that out, but if that was just an empty promise to make these characters seem more likeable; for us to root for them, then this film deserves even less stars.

In fact, while that NHS matter is a real concern, my ACTUAL biggest issue with Locked Down is the fact that they included that god-awful, demonic iPhone alarm ringtone so many times. Sure, the NHS stuff is bad, but… THAT SOUND EFFECT GIVES ME PTSD. I had to mute my television at one point.

I know I’ve moaned and whined about it a lot; I did sort of enjoy the film. There were moments where I chuckled – Ben Kingsley was a delight in it; I appreciated Anne’s eye-rolling to the rest of the world, who were freely able to pop outside, as she reflected on the shit-show the UK’s currently facing, and I especially liked the fact that it wasn’t as try-hard as the trailer made it out to be.

At one point, in the trailer, Chiwetel barks to Anne that he’d never call her normal, which in the trailer was played off as a silly gag, whereas in its full context, was actually used as a sarcastic remark during the heat of an argumentative moment.

The whole trailer was misleading, to be honest. It had the audacity to advertise Mindy Kaling was in it, when she appeared for half a scene via a Zoom call, never to be seen again. I had more screentime on Crimewatch, but you don’t see me bragging about it. (Mainly because my lawyers tell me not to; it’s not a good look.)

I just came out of it feeling like I’d seen it, and… Now what? The problem with Locked Down is that it felt more like an ITV special, than a big budget movie, with an Academy Award winner and nominee.


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