In a sense, heist movies live or die by their climaxes. There are certainly exceptions, but the vast majority of stories within the genre are all about characters preparing for one massive score, and it’s in the unfolding of the climax that it’s determined whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze. Great films can be destroyed by this, and underwhelming films can be saved by this.
Doug Liman’s Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, is no exception, but is also in many ways a wonderful success. It’s an entirely atypical heist movie that evades the tropes that haunt the genre, but also executes a fantastic climax that is wrought with tension as the big job goes down. So what happens in the HBO Max exclusive, and why does it happen? That’s what we’re here to analyze with this feature.
We here at CinemaBlend love to do a deep dive into films with third acts that are tense, twisty, and leave lingering questions, and Locked Down’s ending makes for excellent subject matter in that regard. But before we dig in…
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Locked Down. If you have not yet seen the film, please continue at your own risk!
What Happens At The End Of Locked Down
Throughout the second and third acts of Locked Down, Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Linda (Anne Hathaway) repeatedly discuss what they call “The Moment” – which is the point in time in which they must make the decision to go ahead with their heist, or abort the wild idea and simply do their respective jobs. It specifically comes when they have both the real Harris Diamond and the store display replica in hand, and it also arguably marks the beginning of the film’s ending, and it’s where we will begin our recap.
As the duo get to the fake Harris Diamond on the show floor in Harrods, Paxton uses a step ladder to reach into the tank where the gem is kept – told to be quick by Linda due to the fact that the display houses real piranhas. The motorcycle-loving ex-con successfully makes the extraction without his arm getting bitten off, and when he approaches his ex-partner and notes that the long-awaited moment has come.
Sidling away from the view of the security cameras, they have their brief discussion, and Paxton makes it clear that he thinks that they should take the real Harris Diamond out of its container and pocket it while swapping it for the fake. Linda, who argues with herself out loud throughout the movie, silently takes out the case, drops the £3 million ingot in her purse, and replaces it with the spurious stone.
They only get a moment to reflect on what they’ve done, because as soon as they start the last stage of their plan their excitement is decimated by the arrival of an out-of-breath Donald (Mark Gatiss). Linda’s former employee explains that he got an anonymous call saying that the transport driver for the Harrods job is operating under a fake name – surely the work of Paxton’s enemy, Martin (Sam Spruell) – and that the police are on the way.
With time to make an escape now growing excruciatingly close, Linda decides to make a Hail Mary pass. Rather than come up with some kind of lie, she instead decides to totally come clean to Donald and explain everything that they are doing. Fortunately, Donald is still royally pissed off after having been fired, and after unleashing a rage-filled rant against the system he agrees to let them go.
For a moment it seems like they are free and clear, but then an announcement rings out on the PA system looking for Edgar Allan Poe. The urgency to find the exit exponentially increases, and tensions further rise as Linda nearly runs into uptight Harrods employee Michael (Stephen Merchant). Just as they turn in their passes and are prepared to get out the door, the security guard (Marek Larwood) from the entrance approaches them calling out, “Edgar Allan Poe.” For a moment it seems like they’re caught… but it turns out that the guard simply wanted to return Paxton’s badge, which was dropped at some point during the job. Paxton and Linda make their way to Heathrow Airport on the former’s bike, and the job is done.
An undisclosed amount of time later, the pair is back at their house, and once again in the middle of a fight. Linda has hidden the flour that Paxton purchased to make bread; Paxton gets chided for holding a funeral for his opium-addicted backyard hedgehog; and an accusation is levied at Linda that she put up a piece of tinsel just to fuck with him. Paxton packs up a suitcase and is all ready to go – the one problem is that lock down has been extended for two more weeks. With no move to make, he flops down on the bed next to her and airs his number one grievance: she has forgotten his birthday. Fortunately, she has a present for him handy: the stolen bag of flour.
Considering what it will be like to be at home for another two weeks, Paxton contemplates another poetry recital for the streets, and settles on “Counting The Beats” by Robert Graves.
Will Linda And Paxton Get Away With It?
One of the coolest things about Locked Down when looked at in contrast to other heist films is that stealing the diamond is, for lack of a better word, easy. As horrible as everything has been for Linda and Paxton, the universe gives them an amazing layup that turns them into instant millionaires. Not only is it coincidental that the two of them happen to be transporting the Harris Diamond with zero oversight, but the circumstances in the aftermath are practically miraculous.
It’s established in the middle of the film that the reason the diamond is being moved is because it has been purchased – namely by an anonymous murderous despot. Under normal circumstances you’d think that pissing off a guy like that would be the last thing on anyone’s To Do list, but it really doesn’t matter. Linda is specifically told that after being put on a plane at Heathrow Airport, the diamond will arrive in New York and instantly be put in a safe – with the owner more interested in owning the stone than actually possessing it. Surely somebody will eventually figure out that what is in the safe is a fake, but by then the trail to Linda and “Edgar Allan Poe” would presumably disappear.
Another instance of the universe working in their favor is the process of actually selling the diamond, given Paxton’s old criminal contact and the fact that Paxton once saved his life. That being said, this is still the least secure aspect of the endeavor given that it means telling a third person about the heist, and, to quote Benjamin Franklin, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” No matter what, there is no absolute security in the transaction.
So will Linda and Paxton get away with the heist? Given the good they plan on doing with a third of the money, and the complete lack of victims other than a corporation and a tyrant, we can certainly hope so. But it’s not guaranteed (and, who knows, if not maybe that will wind up spawning sequel discussions).
Do Linda And Paxton End Up Together?
It’s a tricky question to ask about the consequences of the heist in Locked Down, but far trickier to ask about the future of Linda and Paxton’s relationship. While it’s true that as an audience we only see a fraction of their time together, the time that we do see is heavy on the toxic. They are both individually miserable people who can’t even find solace in being miserable.
There certainly are positive overtones in the end of Locked Down. While Paxton is apparently ready to move out as a result of a cascading fight, the final notes suggest that they are happier together than issue ridden, evidenced in his pleasant reaction when she tells him about the extension of stay at home orders.
But can money totally fix a relationship? It’s hard to say. It certainly reduces their stress, particularly as it allows them to quit their respective terrible jobs and focus on their artistic passions. That by itself is only going to be healthy for their coupling. Unfortunately, however, there are also important fractures to recognize in just who they are as human beings (a standout moment is when Linda notes that she stopped being in love with him when he did as she wished and lost his rebellious spirit). The excitement of pulling off the heist may reignite their flame, but the candle still may not burn forever. Again, there’s plenty of material here to be explored in a potential sequel.
What did you think of Paxton and Linda’s choice at the end of Locked Down? Do you think it was a fitting ending for the film? Hit the comments section with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the new release, and if you’re interested in checking it out again, the film continues to stream as an HBO Max exclusive.