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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Locksmith 2023 * * 1/2 Stars


"Do you have anything you're really good at?" Uh, don't answer that question, especially if you have to use the word "pick" (or do, hint hint).  

So yeah, 2023's The Locksmith is indeed about a locksmith, the type that uses his skills to do lawbreaker things. It's also one of those "one last job" flicks where the unconventional risk might be worth the reward (or maybe not). Ryan Phillippe plays Miller Graham, an expert at his lock craft who unfortunately goes to prison, later gets out, and tries to reconnect with his family. 

Anyway I watched The Locksmith trying to gauge what it reminded me of. A little early Michael Mann perhaps? A smidgen of 2011's Drive (without the uh, driving)? The Job (har har)? After a half hour or so I felt a 70s/80s drama thriller vibe, you know the kind that avoids the bells and whistles, ditches the dollies, and just locks in (no pun intended). I also got a subtle noir ambience, with people chain-smoking and darkness and distant camera angles and well, low-key lighting. "You find her before they find you". Indeed. 

Filmed in New Mexico, all dust-bowled up with dirty cop characters hanging in a small town with their small-time mob brethren, The Locksmith stars Phillippe (mentioned earlier), Kate Bosworth, Jeffrey Nording, and Ving Rhames. They are well cast and their scenes sometimes crackle in B-vehicle swipe, aided by nervousness, precariousness, and a sense of moral ambiguity. 

In The Locksmith, there are 92 minutes of shootouts, double-crosses, and crooked fuzz coercion, all supplied like proper keyholes via rookie director Nicolas Harvard (pun intended). I mean the pic plays out sans complexity even though its plot details are complex (if that makes any sense). The Locksmith is congenial enough for at least one watch. "Key performance indicator". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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