Presumably, there will be some point in our post-pandemic existence when films or TV that are directly about the pandemic will no longer come off as uncomfortable or exploitative … but we’re definitely not there just yet. Could that be because the pandemic is still going, perhaps, and killing more people than ever? Seems like that might have something to do with why the trailer for a film like Locked Down immediately conjures such a strange set of emotions. This bizarre stew of romantic comedy, heist film and COVID drama is headed to HBO Max in the near future on Jan. 14, 2021. According to the official synopsis:
Just as they decide to separate, Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) find life has other plans when they are stuck at home in a mandatory lockdown. Co-habitation is proving to be a challenge, but fueled by poetry and copious amounts of wine, it will bring them closer together in the most surprising way.
One wonders why the synopsis is so coy about what will “bring them together,” when the jarring second half of the below trailer makes it quite clear: The two hatch a scheme to pull off an epic diamond heist together. If you didn’t see that coming, don’t worry—nobody who watched the first half of the trailer did either. It’s one heck of a left turn, presumably pushing the film further into comedy territory rather than being some kind of sobering romantic drama about a couple stuck inside together during quarantine. Likewise, it’s hard not to note that the likes of Ben Kingsley were able to literally phone in their performances over zoom.
With that said, the trailer genuinely looks pretty entertaining, and I’ll be damned if Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway isn’t a pairing that I’m looking forward to seeing on my TV screen. But how comedic can one really even attempt to be about a disease that is killing thousands of Americans every single day at this point? Could the release of Locked Down not have been pushed back a few months, to a time when more of us have received the COVID-19 vaccine and the death rate has hopefully slowed? Is this not a rather tone-deaf way for HBO Max to kick off 2021?
Check out the full trailer for Locked Down below and decide for yourself.