There is a scene in Nour Wazzi's Locked In where Doctor Lawrence (Alex Hassell) is in one room, and his hand is nailed to the windowsill in another room. This visual reminds you of Blood Simple, directed by Ethan and Joel Coen. On further consideration, you will find more links between Wazzi's new film and that 1984 neo-noir. One of those connections is infidelity (a wife sleeps with another man). However, there is another, much more atrocious, similarity between the two features: Their style doesn't give us any pleasure. The actors, too, almost look like amateurs. They deliver their lines without much fervor. We are provided with a general sense of meaning and mood. The dialogue, as well as the facial expressions of the actors, are merely adequate. The movie should have been charged with madness, but it feels lackluster.
Hence, it makes sense that the movie opens with the POV of a patient and has room for a valetudinarian. Because it's also as anemic as a sick person. The images are drained of all energy. The colors are dull and lifeless. The movie looks cold, and while that might just be what Wazzi wanted (a woman is told not to swim because of the cold weather), the effect she achieves ends up having a negative impact on her directorial vision. The coldness, instead of coming across as an extension of the setting and the situation of the characters, seems more like evidence of weariness, and dispassion. A functional story and a functional direction only exacerbate the problem.
Wazzi doesn't display any visual imagination. The empty spaces of Katherine's (Famke Janssen) big house are not used in a creative manner. We get a generic scene where the rooms are flooded, and a ceiling collapses to give rise to a feeble "Boo!" moment. The camera just shows the long corridors to hint at the fact that the house is spacious, but it doesn't effectively accentuate the loneliness and the longings of the characters. Lina (Rose Williams) feels trapped in her marriage, and Jamie (Finn Cole) is trapped due to his illness. Katherine, too, used to be a movie star but is now referred to as a "Hollywood has-been" by her son. You can almost sense that Lina, Jamie, and Katherine are disconnected from each other, and a well-made film would have done something with their emotional vulnerabilities and bonds.
Wazzi, however, merely uses her characters to serve the plot. She is more interested in lazy twists and turns. What's worse is that even the "big" moments are executed without any verve. That boat scene and that final confrontation with an injection are all very weak and devoid of force. They are so stiffly performed that they almost become unintentionally hilarious. On top of all this, there is Anna Friel as a nurse named Nicky who seems to have been transported from another film altogether - one that's quite comical. She, with the help of an alphabet board, discovers that Katherine is trying to say "murder" and then somehow even figures out why Katherine fired her gun at someone. Nurse Nicky can surely put Sherlock Holmes out of business. But you should also not underestimate Lina's skills. She can apparently run faster than a car and a horse. Yet, she is unable to outrun her boring existence. She is stuck with people she doesn't like, while we are stuck with a film that never shows any signs of improvement.
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