• Josh Martin-Jones

HBO Max's Locked Down Review

I'm not one to write film reviews but whilst watching this film recently, I thought I would give it a go and work on my film critique skills. Locked Down follows a couple (Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor) who plan to execute a heist of Harrods in the midst of lockdown in London. The film was entirely written, financed, and filmed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and was released in the US on January 14 2021, on HBO Max, and will be available in the United Kingdom later this year on Sky Cinema / NOW TV.

The film starts off as an extremely slow drama piece, as we spend a good chunk of the first act being introduced to our protagonists, Linda Thurman and Paxton Riggs, as they adjust their daily lives to their new living arrangements in lockdown and also the beginnings of their imminent splitting as a couple. We're shown their day to day lives as furlough and work zoom meetings follow. The choice of fly-on-the-wall direction works really well, with the mix of both the digital calls being the shot, and then when we come back to reality seeing the character's perspective using the devices themselves.

Photo: HBO Max

The pacing for the first hour is just dire and the film worries too much about introducing us to our main characters alongside a number of celebrity appearances via. Zoom call. A lot of this could have been done so much faster and taken half of the time that it actually did. There's a nice little bit of foreshadowing for the heist in one scene as Paxton reads a poem to his street, one evening where he says "Steal all the things that you feel life owes you"

For a dissatisfied couple, Hathaway and Ejiofor really work well together on screen. They both thrive off each other in many scenes, all with different emotions to the next scene they're in together. One minute the two are having a heart to heart, the next they're screaming and shouting. Both show great chemistry with each other and together give a good performance.

Photo: HBO Max

The second act is where the film begins picking up in pace, after lingering the film's length with unnecessary secondary character development. The heist planning kicks in when Linda discloses that there is a £3 million diamond in the vault at Harrods that has been sold to an anonymous buyer, and the store keeps a duplicate on-location. She and Paxton agree to take the real diamond for themselves and send the fake one to the buyer in New York City. This is where I started to become more interested in the film, the heist elements were why I wanted to watch the film, and not to see 40-50 minutes of different Zoom calls.

The third act kicks off in Harrod's, we're taken on an adventure through the vaults, security and shop floor as our protagonists find the fake diamond and also retrieve the real one from the vault it lives in, after getting past security with Paxton's secret identity, Edgar Allan Poe - named after the famous poet, which was quite a funny plot point I must admit. I definitely would loosely name this film as a heist film, as they are literally handed the diamond - it is not something they break into Harrod's for, but I feel the film is meant to have the heist be an addition to the drama which it actually is.

Photo: HBO Max

The film ends with Linda and Paxton happily back together, alongside their diamond awaiting the end of lockdown, which happens to get extended for another two weeks at the end of the film (jokes on them, as it doesn't end for months!) The film was impressively filmed over 18 days, even requiring Hathaway and Ejiofor to tape their un-memorised scripts around the set.

Overall, I definitely would recommend watching this film. Don't get me wrong it isn't a perfect film, but the film is worth the watch. It is a fun little thing that we can look back on in 10 years time and be like, "Yeah, the lockdown was sort of how the first act represented it". I can't imagine the film without the two main actors after watching it and reckon a lot of the enjoyment came from both their performances

Overall rating: 2.5/5

Photo: HBO Max

Locked Down will be available to stream on Sky Cinema / NOW TV later this year

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Happy Streaming Folks!

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