Locked Down (2021) – DNF

Locked Down
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anne Hathaway, Dulé Hill, Jazmyn Simon, Mark Gatiss, Ben Kingsley, Ben Stiller, Stephen Merchant, Mindy Kaling, Claes Bang, Lucy Boynton
Seen on: 4.8.2022

Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) have been a couple for a while. But they were in the middle of breaking up with each other when Corona and the resulting lockdown hit them. Now, they are both at home, trying to avoid each other best as they can. Linda takes meeting after meeting online, drowning in work she questions more and more, while Paxton who usually works as a delivery driver is bored out of his mind. When Paxton is supposed to make a delivery with a false identity that connects to Linda’s job, the two have an idea, though: they start to plan a heist.

Locked Down should be good. A heist movie with Ejiofor and Hathaway sounds absolutely ideal. On paper. The actual film is so dreary that I called it quits 50 minutes in, not willing to waste any more time on it.

The film poster showing Linda (Anne Hathaway) staring at Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

That first lockdown in the spring of 2020 that spanned most of the world, certainly the Northern half, was a special time. We all know that. Confronted with COVID and not knowing what the illness really is or does, it was the lucky people who got to stay at home in decently sized houses/apartments, with somebody to talk to and with no money worries (or at least, no more than usual). I was one of those people. We got to protect ourselves without being absolutely lonely or being stuck together all the time, nor facing existential threats.

Arguably, Paxton and Linda are in an even better situation than I was. Their house is bigger (and it’s in fucking London). They obviously make good money. Yes, they are not exactly happy with each other, but the way the film sets those two and their lockdown up, you’d think that they’re suffering through life-long incarceration (Paxton actually does refer to himself and their neighbors as inmates). And you know what, fuck that. Their privileged asses should sit down and consider the many other people who got fucked over by COVID. Paxton and Linda are not among them.

Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) walking through an almost empty department store.

I might have been able to stomach this if the film had managed to make Linda and Paxton charming, or to just be funny in general. But the jokes about baking bread and hoarding toilet paper are tired, and Linda and Paxton are pompous and self-involved. It doesn’t help that the script gives them almost theatrical monologues that feel completely at odds with the comedic tone the film is trying for, and that do way too little to characterize them.

Hathaway and Ejiofor (pretty much everybody else in the cast is just a cameo) should be electric together, but their constant bickering feels less exciting and meaningful and more cold and mean. I don’t know why we should care about them as a couple. Paired with the fact that 50 minutes in (when I turned off the film), the promised heist wasn’t even born as an idea yet for the characters, I really can see no redeeming feature here.

Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) standing in an empty supermarket.

Summarizing: just no.

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