We've obviously been living through some crazy times, and the ongoing global health issues have changed the way many industries function. The TV/film world is no exception, and a number of projects have actually been set in the times of COVID-19. The next of these is the upcoming romantic comedy Locked Down, which stars Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor as an arguing couple who tries to make a jewelry heist in the midst of the pandemic. It's quite the concept, and now the reviews are in.
Locked Down is the second of Anne Hathaway's new movies to arrive straight to homes via HBO Max, following The Witches. That adaptation was met with a mixed critical response, and now the verdict is in for Hathaway's upcoming comedy. CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg gave Locked Down an impressive 4/5 stars, praising the film by saying:
It’s all but guaranteed that the next decade is going to feature all varieties of stories set during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what’s perhaps most exciting about Locked Down is the very real potential for quality in that approach. Sometimes limitations and constrictions – like stay-at-home orders and mandated social distancing – can breed wonderful creativity, and with its fun take on multiple genres that excises cliché, the film is bursting with it, and it’s brought home by a pair of amazing performances and smart style.
Well, that was pretty glowing. And while Locked Down is neither the first or last film project to be focused on life in the midst of isolation, Eric Eisenberg seems to think Doug Liman's new comedy stands out for the quality of the performances and overall film. Of course, not every critic felt the same way about the movie's overall effectiveness. IndieMire's David Ehrlich seemed to think it failed to reach its potential, writing:
Most importantly, Locked Down doesn’t fully surrender to its context. The film might lose a lot of its charge if and when we ever get this virus under control, but Knight’s script uses the pandemic as more of a setting than a subject. COVID-19 serves as a fitting backdrop for an amiable romp about the freedoms we take for granted, and the confines that dictated our lives long before we were forced to spend them at home.
While much of the conversation around Locked Down is about its time setting and tackling of COVID-19, it's also a heist movie at its core. Variety's Owen Gleiberman tackled that aspect of the upcoming streaming release. As his review reads:
You may not buy every detail of how the plan comes off. Yet Liman, shooting in the real Harrods (the first time that’s ever been done — they could do it because the store closed down during the pandemic), does an ingenious job of milking the heist for ordinary-people-caught-up-in-a-caper suspense.
Despite these missteps, I have a begrudging admiration for Locked Down. We’re all trying to make sense of a world ravaged by COVID, and the first movies out the gate to reckon with any kind of upheaval will always be uneven at best. That’s probably Locked Down’s biggest hurdle: it’s trying to look back at something we’re still in, and it’s not entirely sure what to make of it other than a longing to get back to something that makes sense. I admire the sentiment of Locked Down even if I’m ambivalent about its methods.
Subject matter aside, Locked Down reviews seem to be universally praising the performances give by its two stars. The Wrap's Alonso Duralde spent time addressing the chemistry of Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor during his review. Said praise includes:
Ejiofor and Hathaway make a great pairing; they get memorable moments separately, from his regaling their cozy block of townhouses with poetry to her sneaking cigarettes and trying to keep it together during those deadening work calls, but they absolutely click together as a couple who think they’ve reached the end of their rope, only to discover that maybe they haven’t.
Naturally there has also been some criticism thrown Locked Down's way, as is the case with every major film release. THR's David Rooney took particular aim at the script written by Steven Knight (Serenity, Peaky Blinders), for problems in the character as well as the movie as a whole. One excerpt says,
This is a script that should have been buried in a vault more impenetrable than the one at Harrods, and an enterprise that does nothing to instill faith in the possibility of enjoyable pandemic movies.
Luckily for moviegoers, they won't have to wait long before seeing Locked Down themselves, and being able to judge the film's quality on their own. After all, there are plenty of movies that have been embraced by audiences after suffering poor or mixed reviews. The movie it currently set to arrive on the new streaming service on January 14th. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.