Like the real thing, I’m so disappointed with Locked Down

Let me start by saying that I’m in a *terrible* mood. Case counts are up and I’m really upset about it. I hear my friends who are nurses talking about the seriousness of the situation. I am all for going into a hard lockdown. But there is no real leadership from our political leaders.

Here in Ontario, we’re under a ‘stay at home order’ that is so vague, no one really understands what’s changed. I’ve been at home for months. I could order my groceries via Viola or something, but other than that, I’m already at home 99% of the time. (In case you are wondering the 1% I’m not at home is for my daily walk. Maybe I should get a treadmill. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT DOUGIE?!)

I’m over this whole thing and I’m frustrated. Nothing feels enforceable. If anyone actually knows what “essential” means please tell me because at this point you could argue a trip to St. Barts is “essential” for my mental health and also that there is nothing “essential” I need other than the safety of my bed. Like WHAT DO YOU WANT DOUGIE?!

Anyways… I’m obviously *losing* it. Yesterday I ended up crying because I was so stressed equally so bored after nine months of this. The only thing that stopped the tears was making chocolate cupcakes (because honestly, you can try, but you can’t cry when eating cupcakes).

What I really want is a new, really good movie. I want something that makes me laugh, that sucks me in, and helps me forget about all the chaos that is this lockdown.

So when HBOMax announced that the Princess of Genovia herself, Ms. Anne Hathaway, would be staring in a lockdown themed heist film called Locked Down I was ecstatic.

Bring on a pandemic Oceans 8. I’m here for it.

The trailer looked so good and had so much promise.

But just like they told us it would “only be two weeks”, this trailer did not live up to it’s promise.

Here’s the basic concept: Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are a couple basically broken up, but forced to stay together at their home in London due to the first wave of lockdown. She is the CEO of a major company, he is a furloughed delivery driver with a ‘dodgy’ past. Her boss wants her to pack up and move a diamond her company owns from Harrods to a safe in NYC, while his boss wants him to steal it. Instead, Linda and Paxton come together and try to steal the diamond for themselves.

Great idea. But that’s not actually what the movie ends up being about. Sure there is a heist at the end, but the movie’s spends all it’s time on the lock down. There was way too much staying at home, and not enough time heisting. I wanted more heists, less existential questioning.

The whole world is having an existential crisis – I do not need to spend my time watching one. Maybe spend the first 20ish minutes setting up the lockdown, but they didn’t plan the heist until an hour and 15 minutes in! It was infuriating.

I don’t need to watch people on Zoom all day. I do that myself. Even if the people are celebrities…

I don’t need to watch Anne scream into pillows, again, already do that myself. Sure crack a joke about toilet paper Chiwetel, but once again… we’ve already made all the jokes. I’m over it. If I wanted that, I’d watch a documentary. Show me the heist!

So imagine my deep disappointment when we finally got the heist – and it was a boring heist. I want lots of moving pieces and specific timing. I want stunts and a fun soundtrack. Nope. They just walked in, had another existential crisis, and then walked out. No major twist. Kept it really simple.

Simple can be good. I watched Let Them All Talk this week. That is a “simple” movie – but it was phenomenal, beautiful, and a movie I want to rewatch 100 times. This was not that.

The whole movie felt more like a play (in a bad way). It’s a much quieter film than what I wanted it to be. I’ll keep saying it, I wanted a lockdown Oceans film. I wanted to laugh and think about how clever the plot was.

There was no fun soundtrack. Where was the Freedom Fry? Where was slick cover of Feeling Good? In fact, the movie was pretty much exclusively dialogue or silence. Which is fine. But in this case, it wasn’t good.

I’m so frustrated because it could have been so good. It’s an amazing concept – a lockdown heist film at Harrods! I loved the scene where Linda and Paxton wander around the food hall while they wait for their turn in the diamond vault. I wanted more of that. At one point, Linda tells Paxton to think bigger when he just eats a bag of crisps and she goes for the caviar. The filmmakers should have gone for the caviar here.

Imagine the montage of them running through the different floors and departments. They could have filmed in all the different escalators and restaurants and tea rooms. It felt like such a wasted opportunity. From a production point of view – fine, I get it, keeping it basic would save time, costs etc, but this was obviously a big budget film. Splash out people. Pay for the montage.

I’m not alone in my frustration. The Guardian’s critic, Benjamin Lee, was scathing:

“For not only would the film have been an insufferable bore without a global pandemic raging on but given the added stresses and strains and possible danger involved in making it now, its existence feels like even more of an offence, a head-smashingly redundant waste of time, talent, energy and resources, a shockingly early yet entirely convincing contender for worst film of the year.”

You have to read the whole thing. It’s much more entertaining than the actual movie.

I agree with his summary: “My advice for surviving 2021 is simple: wear a mask, wash your hands and please, please keep your distance from Locked Down.”

Locked Down is now streaming on Crave.

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