‘Locked Down’ turns quarantine right into a romantic heist film for the Covid time capsule

The movie is notably simply the most recent try and corral the strangeness of the pandemic and switch that into drama, together with a number of limited series and specials made for TV and streaming. The primary distinction right here includes the marquee stars (plus some amusing Zoom-call cameos), working with “The Bourne Identification” director Doug Liman (whose most germane credit score right here could be “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) and author Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”).

Dwelling collectively in London, Ejiofor’s Paxton has simply been furloughed from his van-driving gig, whereas his companion Linda (Hathaway) is pressured to put off a few of her firm’s staff. That solely provides to the shared sense of malaise and discomfort, since Linda — first seen screaming right into a pillow — had been “planning to finish our factor” earlier than the lockdown saved them no less than bodily collectively.

The stress within the relationship comes spewing out in loads of rapid-fire dialogue, virtually like an Aaron Sorkin film, solely there’s not a lot room to stroll whereas speaking.

“I am not regular these days, I do know that,” Paxton admits, earlier than going out into the road to learn poetry, loudly, as a method of “entertaining our fellow inmates.”

Like most shot-under-quarantine productions, it is intriguing for about 30 minutes or so, thanks partly to the charismatic leads. For the following half-hour, most viewers — like their predicament — will in all probability have seen sufficient and simply need to get out.

The second half, although, takes a marked flip, as a chance presents itself for the 2 to collaborate on absconding with a priceless (OK, extraordinarily worthwhile) piece of merchandise. The situation creates uncertainty about whether or not they’ll really undergo with the scheme, if they’re going to get away with it, and whether or not sharing such an endeavor can restore the harm accomplished between them.

Alongside the way in which, the pair chat with numerous associates and colleagues performed by the likes of Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley and Dule Hill, however that is largely a two-handed card sport.

As soon as once more, it is doable to admire the ingenuity — and on this case, the central performances — with out discovering the outcome notably satisfying. Seeing glamorous folks participating in mundane, getting-under-each-other’s-skin bickering does not essentially make that a complete lot extra enjoyable.

Distributed by Warner Bros. amid the studio’s technique of launching its 2021 slate on HBO Max (like CNN, each models of WarnerMedia), “Locked Down” is the sort of small-boned film that does not lose something on a streaming platform. Creatively talking, it really would possibly achieve one thing after a number of years within the vault, however for now, it falls someplace within the realms of “Not sufficient” and “Too quickly,” take your choose.

“Locked Down” premieres Jan. 14 on HBO Max.

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