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Doug Liman’s romantic heist Locked Down is the most efficient COVID film to this level


It’s one thing new: a quarantine film that isn’t attempting to comfort the viewers

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor face each other in Locked Down

Picture: HBO

Famous moments in historical previous believe at all times been immortalized thru film, and we can demand that to be just for the COVID-19 pandemic as properly. After The United States’s first preserve-at-dwelling tell in March, American studios had to adapt swiftly to retain pumping out stutter, and one tactic changed into incorporating COVID into the tales they were telling. COVID-technology entertainment out of the blue developed from Zoom solid-reunion specials and season finales to in-person productions that both specialise in the sizzling times, with haphazard cowl utilization and social-justice storylines, or level to existence as popular. These tales believe both been discipline in the early days of the pandemic, or elevated it to a catastrophic tournament mute going on years from now. Though some early-days reveals were comforting, they’ve tried to be conscious of on the scenario while it changed into mute ongoing: Hulu’s Love in the Time of Corona and Netflix’s Social Distance came out in summer season and tumble respectively, when vaccines were mute in trial phases, and governments were mute unclear on precisely how seriously to address the virus.

The new HBO Max film Locked Down appears to be like to be like at the COVID-19 pandemic with extra distance. The film takes put in the early days of the pandemic, throughout what appears to be like to be the U.Good enough.’s initial preserve-at-dwelling tell. All americans except crucial workers are confined to their homes, including central couple Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Linda has qualified damaged up with Paxton, but they’re self-keeping apart collectively out of necessity, while Paxton is on furlough from his courier job and Linda is working remotely. The bulk of the film reveals them battling the total upheaval of their each day routines and hundreds of time spent collectively in a confined rental. Fairly than being miserable or overly nihilistic, Locked Down fills the scenario with a dry humor and limited absurdity which, mixed with the distance from the initiating of the pandemic, makes the film the most efficient COVID-related portion of media to reach back out to this level.

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor look through the jewelry counter in a store in Locked Down

Picture: HBO

The massive distinction between Locked Down and outdated COVID reveals and flicks is that it doesn’t must comfort its viewers. Most COVID media to this level has served both as an destroy out from each day pandemic existence, or a case inspect of accumulate thru it. Locked Down changed into filmed in September and October below strict COVID protocols, and is being launched into a world with a viable vaccine, with tangible proof that the pandemic shall be over sometime. Fairly than the earnestness and “we can accumulate thru this” pathos of outdated COVID media, Locked Down reflects the darkish facet of self-keeping apart: the engaging, uncertainty, and complaining. The broadly acquainted references to pointless Zoom meetings and bread-baking are funnier now than they would were in March.

Initially of the film, Linda and Paxton are obviously miserable and struggling to qualified accumulate thru daily. Paxton has been spending his furlough venting to relatives on FaceTime and going out into the facet road to fabricate poetry for his neighbors, who both accumulate pleasure from it, or curse at him. Linda is mute employed as CEO of a division of a sketchy conglomerate, but she’s crumbling below the moral calls for of the job, including having to fireside coworkers. Via a series of coincidences over a week’s time, Linda and Paxton stop up with access to Harrods department retailer, and a concept to decide a £3 million diamond and stop their miserable jobs.

It’s an absurd setup, but the placement shenanigans fit with the film’s vibe of non-public anguish managed throughout chaos, heightened by elevated language and a exiguous bit of farce that leads to Paxton assuming a deceptive identification as “Edgar Allan Poe.” Written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Doug Liman, Locked Down has the heightened language of a play, suffused with dry British humor and a exiguous bit of nihilism. With Liman’s direction, the voice of the leads’ relationship drives the film to boot-known as the heist facets, same to his outdated motion images Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Edge of Day after nowadays to come. Hathaway and Ejiofor give dazzling performances, particularly Hathaway, who expertly handles Linda’s slack unraveling. The rest of the solid, mostly acting by technique of video-convention, entails Impress Gatiss, Stephen Provider provider, Dulé Hill, Mindy Kaling, and Ben Kingsley, though there are about a extra steady solid surprises.

Though the supporting solid provides many of the film’s comedy, the most efficient scenes reach from the conversations between Linda and Paxton. Spurred by the beyond regular time to guage throughout lockdown, each characters utilize a lawful stumble on at their lives and trace that they abominate the keep they’ve ended up. Linda doesn’t catastrophize to boot-known as Paxton at the initiating keep — Knight’s script implies that she’s wanted to be the adult in the room since initiating their breakup — but they each are attempting to alternate their stations in existence, drawing shut a wish for freedom from their circumstances. Knight and Liman don’t supply well-known data about how they obtained to this level of their lives, beyond bare-bones affirmation of how they met, and how long they’ve been collectively. But the clean spaces add a exiguous bit universal taste to the account, at the same time as these declare characters fade from a barely acquainted scenario (let’s qualified retain a ways flung from every other in the dwelling) to an bizarre one. (Let’s seize Harrods!)

Anne Hathaway holds up a small object in Harrods in Locked Down

Picture: HBO

The Harrods heist fragment of the romance/heist film/darkish comedy is condensed into the final 40 minutes of the film, and it’s value spending the major 80 minutes wondering whether or no longer it will ever essentially occur. The tonal shift matches the circulation from a confined rental to a mountainous department retailer, but the stress stays at the same stage, at the same time as the leads transition from a duo at odds to a crew. The heist segment also parts the most romantic moments between the couple parts many of the film’s enormous humor comprises the most levity in the film, with each the characters and the direction reveling in the switch from confinement to a free rental. Even the viewers will get some kid-in-a-candy-retailer satisfaction thru osmosis.

The cinematography stays tight on Hathaway and Ejiofor for the length of the film, which Liman shoots mostly with shut-americaand monitoring shots, mirroring the leads’ confinement to their rental. Holding the angles shut lets Liman retain the stress high, though he in the extinguish enables some huge shots once the film strikes to Harrods. These choices lift a approach of claustrophobia to every scene, making the characters’ anguish extra of a environment than the true rental they live in. The lighting fixtures also builds on the psychological sense of confinement, with many of the scenes filmed with low or indoor light. Even the soundtrack, or lack thereof, provides the film a approach of suspended time: the ranking’s evolution from quiet-film-model piano firstly to a cooler electrical-guitar ranking is the final word hint of passing time apart from the alternate between night and day. The one time a tune with lyrics comes on, it feels cherish an interruption to the film’s stasis, same to a window breaking.

Locked Down doesn’t fit into an effortless genre categorization. It’s a pragmatic enough depiction of how folks fought, laughed, and cried amid the confusion and lack of routine in early days of the pandemic. The film’s payment on its day of birth comes from recognition of the total shared circumstances of the pandemic that haven’t been spoken aloud yet. After a one year of attempting to preserve sure, laughing along to sarcasm and self-woe is a birth. Locked Down also meets the purpose of immortalization; of the total pandemic media launched over the final 10 months, folks will doubtless return to this film as the most life like depiction of the early days of COVID.

Previous that, it’s also a unlucky comedy, a put up-breakup exploration, and a quite low-stakes heist film. All of that takes put in a essentially true-world scenario, but it infuses the scenario with a cramped amount of levity and absurdity. It’s an bold account that acknowledges that it takes put in a society the keep the total conventional principles were became on its head, and popular’s gone out of the window. It isn’t comforting, but it’s a model for the inevitable future COVID motion images to reach back.

Locked Down is now streaming on HBO Max.