One of 2021’s first films, Locked Down, features a promising premise – even if it probably isn’t one that everybody can get behind just yet – and a pair of brilliant leads, but director Doug Liman and writer Steven Knight fail to capitalize on any of their film’s potential strengths. The end result is a mildly entertaining, but completely forgettable experience.
Locked Down begins as a drama (or dramedy?) about an ex-couple, Linda and Paxton (Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejifor) who are struggling with their respective jobs, the coronavirus pandemic, and being cooped up together even after their relationship has ended. However, it eventually – and jarringly – turns into the most low key heist film that I’ve ever seen, and gives the flick a bizarre, confused feeling overall.
That disjointedness is compounded by the film being set during the covid pandemic… You know, the one that is still raging on at the moment? It’s hard to stay focused on a film when it’s giving you constant, depressing reminders of the current state of the world we’re living in. I assume that this won’t be a problem for some though, and it will obviously become even less of an issue once this global pandemic is in our rearview.
Unsurprisingly, Hathaway and Ejifor are great in Locked Down. In fact both of them deliver some of my favorite moments from their careers that I’ve seen thus far. Unfortunately, the film’s meandering plot and indecisiveness over what kind of story it wants to tell means that the actors’ talents are wasted. The pair of excellent performances on display are almost good enough, but ultimately unable to carry Locked Down into passable territory. There’s also a few supporting characters with familiar faces, but none of them get enough screen time to make any real impact.
Lastly, the ending of Locked Down is awful. There’s just so much that feels completely unearned with Linda, Paxton, their relationship, and the heist. One particular hurdle involving the latter is cleared in such a mind-numbingly dumb way that I actually shouted “are you serious?!” at my TV.
This might be the shortest review that I’ve written for Middle of the Row, as I’m struggling to find anything else to say about Locked Down. It’s an empty story that falls flat pretty much every step of the way, and can’t even be saved by two great actors doing their absolute best to elevate the lackluster material they were given.