Monday, April 19, 2021

Locked Down might just make you nostalgic for the early pandemic

Locked Down might just make you nostalgic for the early pandemic

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Locked Down was written by Steven Knight (TV’s Peaky Blinders) and directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), but with its hand-held, documentary feel and rat-a-tat dialogue and editing, it seems like a Steven Soderbergh production in all the best ways. In fact, given that Soderbergh took the Queen Mary 2 across the pond last August – shooting the excellent Let Them All Talk on the way – I half-believed he’d stayed on in Britain to make this fun, fast-paced heist movie. Except he’d have called it Ocean’s Two.

Liman uses pandemic protocols to his benefit, with some characters never appearing in person, but only as Zoom meeting attendees, complete with glitches, rolling I’m-holding-a-cellphone pans, and that weird echo you sometimes get on video calls. He also shoots inside the real Harrod’s, as I can attest as a former employee who once navigated the same workers’ entrance, underground labyrinth and opulent food halls on a daily basis.

And so with Locked Down we have a romance, a comedy, a heist movie and a thriller that also feels like a time capsule, from a time before we knew (not that we really do now) where this COVID thing was going. “Before the banging of the next saucepans,” Paxton says of how quickly something will happen, and reminding us of when Britons used to make a weekly ruckus in support of the NHS.

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period. Dickens again. Sometimes you need the best to describe the best.

Locked Down is available Jan. 14 on Crave.

4.5 stars out of 5

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