Doug Liman has an interesting way of accessing the intricacies of relationships, which he has demonstrated before in the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-starrer ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith.’ In ‘Locked Down,’ he revisits that familiar territory, delving deep into a troubled relationship while letting his actors’ immense abilities drive home the point of mutual frustration and heartbreak. The dissolution of romance and finding the solution in the pure escapism of classic Hollywood is what you can expect from it. ‘Locked Down’ is as much a heist movie as it is a relationship drama, and it works as both because of Liman’s capability to handle such meetings of contradictions. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Locked Down Plot Synopsis
Linda Thurman (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton Riggs (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are an urban couple living in London. Set in the months following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the film shows that the relationship between the two protagonists is rapidly disintegrating. Ironically, if the lockdown put the final nail in the coffin of their shared past, then the lockdown is also what prevents them from burying it for good.
Circumstances have forced Linda and Paxton to quarantine together, and the resentment festers in the prolonged quiet moments. These two are deeply unhappy individuals. Paxton, the quintessential underachiever, is still paying the dues from one solitary moment of violence in his youth. Professional progress eluded him before the lockdown. During it, he has been furloughed. On the other hand, Linda is professionally successful, but she absolutely despises her job. As the CEO of the London branch, she is forced to fire several of her colleagues.
There is a lengthy monologue in the early part of the film, during which she exposes her sheer disappointment at herself for becoming something that her younger self would have ridiculed. As Linda says, at one point in the film, they came together when they were both wild, and then, both of them stopped being wild. Theoretically, that should have worked, but it didn’t. However, it seems that fate takes an active role in their relationship when Linda discovers that Paxton has been rehired by his old boss, Malcolm (Ben Kingsley), to drive certain cargo from the Harrods store to the Heathrow airport on behalf of her company.
One of the things that he is meant to transport is the Harris diamond, worth over three million pounds. Noting the unfairness of it all, she tentatively proposes to Paxton that they should steal it. When Paxton agrees to the idea, she tells him that they will wait until the last moment to decide whether to go through with the plan or not.
Locked Down Ending: What Do They Choose?
The heist suffered a setback even before the plan for it was conjured. As the job is transporting high-value cargo, it required drivers with no criminal records. Due to the lockdown, Malcolm has no other choice but to reach out to Paxton, who does have a criminal record. To sidestep that, Malcolm decides to give Paxton a false ID. The problem is, the person he put in charge of creating the ID has a long-standing office-rivalry with Paxton. And so, this man makes an ID for Paxton under the name of the 19th-century author, Edgar Allan Poe.
Fortunately for Linda and Paxton, not many people are avid readers today. Both of them successfully get into the Harrods building and get the real diamond from the security officers watching over the vault. In this transitional period, they seem to mend the bond they both thought was broken for good. Linda speaks about her sexual encounter with Paxton’s half-brother’s (Dule Hill) wife. Paxton is more surprised by the sudden revelation than upset.
But he sees through her reasoning of why she brought it up now. Linda desperately wants to put off that critical decision until the very last moment. Paxton reminds her that they have to choose before fate steps in and makes a choice for them. So, after he retrieves the replica from the piranha-filled aquarium, the moment of truth arrives for both of them. And Linda, unbridled for the first time in a long time, decides to go ahead with the plan and steal the diamond. Their hushed celebration of this momentous decision is interrupted by Donald’s (Mark Gatiss) arrival.
Donald is one of the people that Linda fired earlier. He has figured out that Paxton is there with a false ID. At that important juncture, Linda decides that the only thing she can do here is stating the truth. And she does. She tells Donald who Paxton really is and why they are there. Most importantly, she confesses that she is still in love with her partner. Donald, who has been unfairly treated by the organization they both worked for, was only there out of his concerns for Linda. He grabs his moment of epiphany and agrees to lie for them to the police.
What is in Store for Linda and Paxton?
Paxton’s motorcycle represents the free, wonderous days of their youth for both of them. So, it is only fitting that they ride towards their new life on that same vehicle. The problems that they have will definitely not go away overnight. But now they have a semblance of equality in their relationship. The money (1/3 had gone to the NHS) helps them bring stability to their relationship. Neither of them has to work if they don’t want to. Paxton might, as Malcolm promised him a desk job earlier. Love was never completely gone from their relationship. It just went dormant, especially after COVID started.
Trapped with each other 24/7 in a cramped-up space, they could only see the shortcomings of their relationship. It takes a night filled with thrills and adventure to rekindle the romance. When the film ends, the pandemic is still raging, and the lockdown has been extended for another two weeks. But the two protagonists will survive more of this intimate existence because they seem to rediscover their true feelings for each other. So, even though Linda forgets his birthday, Paxton is quick to forgive. After all, in the time of lockdown, very few people can keep track of what date it is.
Read More: Where Was Locked Down Filmed?