Review: The Lockpicker

A troubled teen struggles to maintain his equilibrium in the wake of his friend’s death in The Lockpicker. Hashi (Keigian Umi Tang) is a teenage thief, who is haunted by the recent suicide of his friend Tess (Melissa McCann), who he still sees in visions. Sleepwalking through life in school, work, and parties, Hashi acts out by stealing from the other students. However, as those around him are victimized by violence and bullying, Hashi desires to escape the immense rage that is building up inside of him.

The Lockpicker is the debut feature film from director Randall Okita (The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer). The film follows troubled teen Hashi, who is plagued with violent nightmares and visions of his friend Tess, who recently committed suicide. Hashi mostly spends time with himself, recording the conversations of others and doing some writing in a notebook. Hashi’s sullen state worsens when his other friend Greg (David Woroner) is brutally attacked at a party and Hashi is forced to choose between fighting back or running from everything that he knows.

The Lockpicker is a drama that is described as a “psychological portrait of a solitary young man who presents as completely ordinary, apart from his predilection for minor theft.” Indeed, much of the plot of The Lockpicker involves delving into the psyche of Hashi, who is tormented by thoughts of rage and violence. Writer/director Randall Okita lets the story of the film just play out, instead of focusing too much on exposition or background for the characters. In fact, the viewer is left having to piece things together themselves, which can result in Hashi’s story being one that is difficult to truly connect with.

There are many scenes in the film, which often turn out to be Hashi’s nightmares, which are quite well shot and executed, making good use of shadow. However, even though the film is well produced, it is quite hard to grasp what Randall Okita’s goals for the film are. Even the title of The Lockpicker is somewhat confusing, since Hashi’s thievery ultimately plays only a small role in the plot of the film.

Ultimately, I don’t really know what to to think about The Lockpicker. While the film is tackling some interesting themes, the execution of the plot just left me confused am perhaps a little bit bored. While it is otherwise a perfectly fine drama, The Lockpicker is not really a film that I can fully recommend.