A Step into the Recent Past: HBO Max’s Locked Down Review

A Film Review from your Average Jane Doe No. 2

Watching HBO Max’s new movie, Locked Down, felt like entering a time machine to the past, but the past was only less than a year ago and we’re still living through that same ~unprecedented~ time.

Spoilers Ahead! If you haven’t watched this movie and care about spoilers, do not read ahead until after you watch (unless you don’t care about spoilers of course).


Much like the feeling of the first week of quarantine, I would describe Locked Down as surreal. This movie, directed by Doug Liman and written by Steven Knight, was an odd watch. When I first saw the trailer, I knew this was the start of pandemic-related scripted content. (I know there’s a couple others already out there, but this was the first mainstream movie that I had seen) I could see the future of commercializing and capitalizing on the pandemic through film/tv media even more clearly, and I’m still not sure if I like what I see.

With that aside, I think there was some humor in the movie that only makes sense because of the timeline they chose. Locked Down takes place in the first two weeks of lockdown in London, a time when everyone thought this virus would be a quick blip and a couple weeks at home would make it go away. Listening to the characters talk about lockdown as such a short and temporary time was funny because obviously it became so untrue. Oh to be back in the time of early quarantine naivete.

I had the same feeling while watching the first two episodes of the fourth season of ABC’s The Good Doctor. These episodes follow the pandemic and how the hospital handled it up to May, and then the series ended the pandemic without an explanation. I stopped watching after the fifth episode of this season because it wasn’t good anymore, so I don’t know if they ever addressed how they ended it later, but the feeling when watching those two episodes was the same. It’s still the overall feeling of seeing this event that virtually everyone (pun intended) is also experiencing is surreal, I really can’t think of another word to describe it.

When I was talking with my parents about the movie, they related this feeling to 9/11. I wasn’t born when the attack happened, so I never felt anything deeply personal when seeing it in movies and on TV. Everything I know about it, I learned in school years later. However, my parents were getting that same odd feeling when seeing something so traumatizing and so real in a scripted setting when media began coming out with the event in mind. I think this was especially different because everyone has lived through this situation. Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, and this movie was able to make you reflect and remember where you were when it all started.


Returning to Locked Down itself, I thought it was a good movie. It was compelling because of the pandemic aspect and I think heist movies are fun. Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor were really good in it, so my concerns were never with the casting or acting.

One of my main gripes about the movie was the timing. It took a long time to ramp up to the idea of the heist and then the heist itself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to really like the movie because it was so slow at the beginning. However, if we relate it back to the pandemic (obviously), isn’t every day long and slow and slightly annoying over Zoom? The pace resembles the slowness of lockdown and the monotony that we’re all feeling. I don’t know if the movie was written to acknowledge this, but it would make sense for the pacing.

I also enjoyed the simplicity of the heist. It was two ordinary people playing with fate and destiny to steal this diamond for the greater good. I’m glad that they had a moral compass to give away some of the money to the NHS too.

Overall, I give the movie a solid 7/10.

While this is not the first movie to include the pandemic, I think it was one of the firsts with bigger celebrities and it’s definitely not the last. I don’t know if I would get tired of this growing trend either.

Let me know if you’ve seen Locked Down or any other COVID-19-related movies/tv.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.