Very spoilery! Edgar Allan Poe may have said “There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told,” but not here. (Or read my review.)
“Freedom Linda, in one beautiful moment,” says Paxton as the stand in Harrods, dithering over whether to swap the fake diamond with the real one she’s supposed to be sending to New York.
What felt most real about Locked Down – apart from the Zoom tropes and lurid expanding trousers – was Linda and Paxton’s fear and bafflement, unable to work out which way to turn in a shut-down world of very few options. The usual rules of engagement have been swept away, replaced with ever-changing rules that require we all support each other when we’re not reporting each other.
All that stays the same is that the ones at the top will just keep getting richer.
There’s also freedom though, from a world turned upside down, and that’s one of the reasons Linda and Paxton get help from an unlikely quarter during their heist.
Locked Down raises five questions during its runtime:
- do Paxton and Linda manage to steal the diamond?
- do they stay together?
- does Paxton finally get to make his homemade bread?
- what happens to the hedgehog?
- and what’s with Edgar Allan Poe?
Let’s tackle that baking question first, and yes he does, once Linda returns his bag of strong flour, with a monologue about how hideous homemade actually bread is. Get yourself a bread maker, Linda! I only knead it by hand when I want to punch a PPE billionaire in the head and the law will not allow it. (Paxton’s actual baking session is the mid-credits scene.)
Do they steal the diamond? Yes they do – their scam rests on swapping the real Harris diamond, which has been stored in a vault below Harrods, with the fake one used in the actual shop floor display.
Paxton and Linda retrieve the real diamond from Security, then the fake sparkler from the display. Linda swaps them over, and they pack up the other luxury goods to be sent to a secure warehouse. The diamond is going to Heathrow and then to a vault in Wall Street – because of COVID there will be no one there to check its provenance though, so Linda thinks it could be years before anyone discovers the theft.
Over the public address system, Security are asking for Edgar Allen Poe. This is Paxton’s fake name for the day, chosen by a colleague who hates him. That has caused even more problems getting into the building, though I don’t know why they didn’t just go with it: “my dad wanted to honour his teenage Goth phase when he named me,” something like that.
Then Donald unexpectedly turns up in the store. He’s one of the events team fired by Linda over Zoom early in the film, and he’s returned to Harrods because an anonymous caller has told the company that Linda’s driver has a fake name and a criminal record. The police are on their way.
Linda blurts out everything to Donald, asking him to lie for them when the police arrive. Amazingly he agrees, not even wanting the £200k Paxton offers, because he’s fascinated by the “anarchy” that has come about, the liberation of lockdown, the chance to steal from mega-corporations. He adores Linda, that she has a “secret bandit lover”, and he wants to finally “fucking do something.” (Presumably this is meant to mirror the real lockdown life I wrote about at the start, with people helping each other out while someone else informs on them for some minor violation.)
Paxton and Linda escape with the diamond, though they’re stopped by Security at the door – it turns out the calls for Edgar Allen Poe were because he’d simply left his Heathrow security pass in their office. The pair leave on Paxton’s motorbike, and travel to Heathrow to drop off the fake diamond.
We then see Paxton at home, presumably some days later, packing a bag, until Linda points out Lockdown has been extended for two more weeks so he can’t go anywhere. They seem to be getting on pretty well, so well that she returns his flour. It looks as if there’s a chance they will stay together, at least until one of them tries to give up smoking again.
And the hedgehog? Drugged on opium from the poppies growing in their front garden, he dies, but happily one would presume.
Read my review here. Locked Down is out on HBO Max now, and will be available to rent in the UK from 11 March.