It hasn’t been straightforward to make motion pictures recently, so it is comprehensible that we’ve not seen many notable options that deal instantly with the pandemic. In truth, it is nonetheless an open query: is COVID cinema one thing anybody actually needs? Or is it precisely the form of darkish actuality we go to the flicks from to flee?
Doug Liman’s unusual however very admirable Locked Down gives a attainable reply. Like Sam Levinson’s current Malcolm & Marie, it is a Hollywood passion challenge constructed across the sensible limitations imposed by social distancing, and apparently conceived as a way of preserving the solid and crew busy throughout pressured downtime.
Also as in Malcolm & Marie, which wasn’t concerning the pandemic, this can be a research of a surprisingly couple: on this case, van Paxton’s driver (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the CEO of a magnificence firm Linda (Anne Hathaway), who simply ended their year-long relationship. But it’s early 2020, when the UK has simply come into lockdown, and so they’re pressured to proceed sharing their flat in London.
That could be an embarrassing state of affairs for anybody, however it’s particularly arduous for these two, who might politely be described as “very tense.” Paxton exhibits instant indicators of psychological sickness, combining suicidal ideation with manic diatribes. Linda is extra composed on the floor, however her varnish tends to crack the second she closes the Zoom.
As darkish as all this will likely appear, Locked Down is a form of romantic comedy – and likewise, finally, a form of heist film. But do not be fooled by the solid of massive names, or the truth that Liman directed way back The Bourne Identity: what occupies many of the 2h of the movie is lots of speak.
This is supplied by screenwriter Steven Knight, primarily based on the actual set of abilities he beforehand exhibited in his comparable titled Locke, a solo cinematic present consisting completely of Tom Hardy on a speakerphone. Here’s an entire line of visitor stars like celebrities, who seem largely in Zoom calls. But everyone seems to be long-winded in a really British method, together with Americans like Linda.
For fairly some time, Locked Down appears to be not going anyplace, however Knight is regularly laying the groundwork for the climax, which depends upon a selected and intensely unlikely sequence of coincidences. Improbability is the purpose, recognizing the gradual transition from a stylized model of on a regular basis life to finish romantic fantasy.
Along the way in which from Locked Down, the COVID-19 is decreased to little greater than a plot artifice, or a metaphor for the oppressive and corrupt trendy world: nobody exhibits a lot of a literal concern of catching the illness. But the movie is an incredible and surprising expertise – and earlier than we attain the improbable ending, the lengthy accumulation conveys a recognizable sense of stopping in time.
Available on HBO MAX.