Locked Down: A Feature Film For Covid Era

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Locked Down. Photograph by Susie Allnutt. Courtesy of HBO Max.

Locked Down has the tough responsibility of being one of the first major studio films to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Filmmaker Doug Liman may be ambitious enough to want to film in outer space with Tom Cruise.  But before doing that, he went about filming this project during the pandemic.  Many of us have been living this horror movie since last March–some in worse circumstances than others.  One thing this film does get right is how some couples are not able to survive the lockdown.  I honestly don’t know what message that Locked Down is trying to send.  It’s kind of complicated.

The pandemic has put Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) at a cross roads.  Linda works at a firm while Paxton writes poetry.  When we first meet them, it sounds as if their relationship is not going to survive.  An hour into the film, it still feels this way.  Moreover, it was at this point in which I made the commitment to finish the film in spite of not really liking it.

Just shy of the 90 minute mark, there are a number of people in a building that are not wearing masks.  Or they take their masks off in order to talk.  I’m sorry but rules are rules.  Everyone in this scene needs to be wearing a mask.  It is inexcusable.  We are living in a pandemic and this film represents living in said pandemic.  There are other moments shortly thereafter where, again, nobody is wearing a mask.  There is zero consistency with the mask wearing.  I cannot be more disappointed.  This is the trouble of filming during a pandemic let alone setting a film during one. (Edit: A reader informs me that the United Kingdom didn’t make masks mandatory until July.)

I went into this film with an open mind but truth of the matter is that this is not the type of content I want to be watching during a pandemic.  There other moments of humor in the film, don’t get me wrong, but I want to watch more comedies than dramas.  The pandemic is either bringing out the best or worst in humanity.  It is one thing to have scenes in private but another to have them take place in public.

While Locked Down may contain a star-studded cast, it isn’t enough to save the film and the lack of masks while in public are beyond disappointing.

DIRECTOR:  Doug Liman
SCREENWRITER:  Steven Knight
CAST:  Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Merchant, Mindy Kaling, Lucy Boynton, Dulé Hill, Jazmyn Simon, with Ben Stiller and Ben Kingsley

HBO Max launches Locked Down on January 14, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.