‘Locked Down’ evaluate: Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in a quarantine romantic heist for the Covid time capsule

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The movie is notably simply the newest try to corral the strangeness of the pandemic and flip that into drama, together with a variety of restricted sequence and specials made for TV and streaming. The important 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 accomplice Linda (Hathaway) is pressured to put off a few of her firm’s employees. 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 stored them at the very least bodily collectively.

The rigidity in the relationship comes spewing out in a lot of rapid-fire dialogue, nearly like an Aaron Sorkin film, 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 avenue to learn poetry, loudly, as a technique of “entertaining our fellow inmates.”

Like most shot-under-quarantine productions, it is intriguing for about 30 minutes or so, thanks in half to the charismatic leads. For the subsequent half-hour, most viewers — like their predicament — will in all probability have seen sufficient and simply wish 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 precious) piece of merchandise. The situation creates uncertainty about whether or not they’ll truly undergo with the scheme, if they will get away with it, and whether or not sharing such an endeavor can restore the injury accomplished between them.

Along the method, the pair chat with numerous mates and co-workers performed by the likes of Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley and Dule Hill, however that is principally a two-handed card recreation.

Once once more, it is doable to admire the ingenuity — and in this case, the central performances — with out discovering the consequence notably satisfying. Seeing glamorous folks partaking in mundane, getting-under-each-other’s-skin bickering would 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 items of WarnerMedia), “Locked Down” is the type of small-boned film that does not lose something on a streaming platform. Creatively talking, it truly would possibly acquire 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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