Netflix’s ‘Locked In’ is a psychological thriller film directed by Nour Wazzi and written by British screenwriter Rowan Joffe. The movie follows Katherine, a famous and rich actress who somehow ends up in the hospital, paralyzed as a result of a hit and run. While her nurse, Nicky, tries to find out more about what happened to the patient by observing Katherine’s eyes, which show movement, more details are revealed about her strained relationship with her daughter-in-law and legal heir, Lina.
With stars like Famke Janssen and Rose Williams giving the chills to the viewers with their acting prowess, the film progresses with plenty of twists and turns. It eventually boils down to forbidden love, property disputes, dirty secrets, and, of course, money! While on the surface, the title of the film seems like a reference to Katherine’s locked-in syndrome but throughout the narrative, the film explores many other situations that make the title multi-dimensional. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Actual Implications of the Title For the Characters
After Katherine’s accident, she is paralyzed, with her doctor announcing in the beginning that due to her head injuries, she was in a coma for three days and it ended up damaging her brain stem, which has resulted in the locked-in syndrome. Nurse Nicky later explains to Lina about the rare neurological disorder that paralyzes a patient. In Katherine’s case, it means that she is still conscious and will probably be able to communicate with her eyes. While Nicky tries her best to get a reaction out of Katherine, she is still in every way locked inside her body and unable to communicate anything properly despite being able to listen to and understand everything happening around her.
As Katherine seems to be completely locked in, she isn’t the only character the title seems to be referring to. In the middle of the film, when Jamie and Lina struggle in their relationship as a married couple, the former also mentions that he feels locked in a body that doesn’t seem to work. This helps us with a deeper meaning to the title since Jamie has had seizures and other health issues since he was young. While some extra issues might have cropped up because of the painkillers their family doctor Robert Lawrence was prescribing to him, who was also having an affair with Lina, Jamie has always known a life inside his manor. With an oxygen mask tied to him at night and very limited outdoor activities allowed to him, Jamie is in every sense locked inside his body and the house and depends on Lina to take care of him.
The title also seems to be a reference to Lina, who moved into the manor with Katherine at a very young age and doesn’t know what the world looks like outside the walls. She still has the freedom to go nearby for a swim or a drive, which eventually helps her start an affair with Robert but she is married to Jamie and pretty much a caretaker for him, so she is expected to stay in the house. She expresses her frustration on numerous occasions, claiming that she feels like a servant at one point.
She thinks that she needs to stay with Jamie and take care of the family because he has no one else apart from her. While Katherine suspects Lina married Jamie for money, Lina always feels trapped in the house since she hasn’t even taken up another job because her husband didn’t let her. At one point, Jamie even suggests she needs him more than he needs her because every time she tries to go out, something bad happens. He is referring to Lina’s mother, Danielle, who died when Lina wasn’t there with her in the house when it happened and now she blames herself for it.
For all the characters who feel locked in, it isn’t as simple as not being able to go out. It also relates to their fears and perceptions about life. Lina somehow keeps justifying to herself that she stayed with Katherine after her husband died and married Jamie because she felt like they needed her. At the same time, she grows to despise Katherine and Jamie for not letting her go out in the world, even if she stays back with them willingly. When Katherine suggests Lina should leave the house if she feels so stuck, it hurts Lina’s ego and she decides to stay. In a way, her affair with Robert seems more about her wanting to be free and get out of the prison she finds herself in. Katherine and Jamie are also not happy with their lives and, in a way, they wish to be freed from their predicaments so they don’t feel so trapped.