Locked Down review: A COVID-19 heist flick

Teng Yong Ping
·Lifestyle Editor
·2-min read
Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Photo: HBO Max)
Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Photo: HBO Max)

Length: 118 minutes
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dulé Hill, Jazmyn Simon, Ben Kingsley, Mark Gatiss

3 out of 5 stars

Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, was shot in 18 days in London, during the early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The film was directed by Doug Liman, who is known for past work including The Bourne Identity, Edge Of Tomorrow and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

It’s one of the first Hollywood films to directly address the devastating and wide-reaching pandemic that’s still currently ongoing.

I thought that Locked Down would be about a couple in crisis trying to work out their marriage problems while stuck with each other at home during a lockdown. But it’s actually a heist film with Hathaway and Ejiofor playing reluctant criminals.

Linda, Hathaway’s character, suffers a crisis in conscience when she has to lay off several employees, supposedly because of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. But she believes the real villains are the unfeeling, well-heeled corporate elites who were there before COVID-19, and will still be there after COVID-19.

Together with her estranged husband, Paxton, she plots to steal a priceless diamond on display at the famed Harrods department store. Their heist is facilitated in part by COVID-19 restrictions, because the store will be practically empty.

Several scenes from the film take place at the actual Harrods, the world’s most exclusive department store.

Locked Down is billed as a rom-com-slash-crime-flick, and Hathaway and Ejiofor’s performances are great, but I didn’t know where the story was supposed to go. Was it a commentary on marriage, or capitalism, or the pandemic? Besides the heist plot, the movie didn’t have any meat in terms of a clear message on the aforementioned themes. Or was the message that… it’s easy to pull off heists during a pandemic?

Locked Down was released on HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s big streaming offering. But because HBO Max is still currently only available in the United States, in Asia, the film was released on HBO and HBO Go, the streaming platform in the region.

This was a different pattern from another recent major Warner Bros. film, The Witches, which also starred Anne Hathaway. The Witches was released on HBO Max, but in Singapore, it was released only in cinema theatres.

An American Pickle, another HBO Max film starring Seth Rogen, was also released on HBO Asia in this region.

We’ll see if HBO Max continues to release its major movies on HBO Asia – Warner Bros. had earlier announced that all its 2021 line-up of blockbusters would be released simultaneously in theatres and HBO Max, including Godzilla Vs. Kong.

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