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

The movie is notably simply the newest 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 essential distinction right here includes the marquee stars (plus some amusing Zoom-call cameos), working with “The Bourne Identity” director Doug Liman (whose most germane credit score right here could be “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) and author Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”).

Living collectively in London, Ejiofor’s Paxton has simply been furloughed from his van-driving gig, whereas his associate 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 into a pillow — had been “planning to end our thing” earlier than the lockdown saved them a minimum of bodily collectively.

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

“I’m not normal lately, I know that,” Paxton admits, earlier than going out into the road to learn poetry, loudly, as a technique of “entertaining our fellow inmates.”

Like most shot-under-quarantine productions, it is intriguing for about half-hour or so, thanks partly to the charismatic leads. For the subsequent 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 two 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 will get away with it, and whether or not sharing such an endeavor can restore the injury finished between them.

Along the approach, the pair chat with varied pals and associates performed by the likes of Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley and Dule Hill, however that is largely a two-handed card sport.

Once once more, it is potential to admire the ingenuity — and on this case, the central performances — with out discovering the consequence significantly satisfying. Seeing glamorous individuals partaking in mundane, getting-under-each-other’s-skin bickering does not essentially make that a entire 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 movie that does not lose something on a streaming platform. Creatively talking, it really would possibly achieve one thing after a few years in the vault, however for now, it falls someplace in the realms of “Not enough” and “Too soon,” take your decide.

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

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