Movie Review: ‘The Locksmith’

by | Feb 8, 2023 | Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies | 2 comments

Review by James Lindorf

Nicolas Harvard marks his feature directorial debut with the indie crime drama “The Locksmith.” Featuring a classic Hollywood premise and a veteran cast, “The Locksmith” is a solid reminder that Ryan Phillippe and Kate Bosworth can still entertain audiences. Now available theatrically in select markets and through VOD, everyone can see if Phillippe can pull off one last job.

In classic film noir fashion Miller (Phillippe) is a skilled, safe cracker fresh out of prison and town between two women. Miller is determined to walk the straight and narrow in hopes of spending more time with his policewoman ex-girlfriend Beth (Bosworth) and their daughter Lindsay (Madeleine Guilbot). On his side is his best friend and mentor, Frank (Ving Rhames), who sets Miller up with a job and a place to stay. It won’t be smooth sailing, but thanks to his blonde angel and Frank, Miller is confident he won’t relapse into a life of crime. Enter crooked cop Zwick (Jeffrey Nordling), who reminds Miller that if he wants to stay healthy and free, he will keep his mouth closed. Zwick is dangerous, but the biggest threat to Miller’s plan to stay straight is a brunette devil in the form of April Reyes (Gabriela Quezada), his dead partner’s sister. April is in trouble and needs Miller to rob the high-stakes poker game put on by a local crime boss (Charlie Weber) under the protection of a particular crooked cop.

The screenplay for “The Locksmith” passed through five different writers’ hands before hitting the set, and there are bits and pieces of all of them present. It leads to some inconsistencies in dialogue and plotting. Still, overall the storytelling efficiently moves characters from point a to b. For a low-budget film, the writers and Harvard make good use of the location and the cast. The writers fit enough people in the movie that it feels like a small city instead of just a few friends in someone’s backyard. Harvard and cinematographer Jeff Bierman don’t have a lot of locations to work with, but they contrast them expertly. The dry, barren landscapes of New Mexico, the dark and dingy shop Miller lives and works in, the blues and greens of the police station, and the decadence of the crime boss’ mansion.

Twenty-five years ago, with this cast, “The Locksmith” would have brought in 100 million at the box office instead of hoping for good streaming numbers. Bosworth and Phillippe prove they can still bring the charisma necessary to lead a solid B-movie. Phillippe is impressive while trying to balance the hopeful romantic and gruff convict. Rhames, who has had the most consistent career, never left that in doubt and is easily the best of the three here, even in a minor role. “The Locksmith” is an easy 2.5 out of 5 and a good entry point for people looking to explore film noir and its tropes.

Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Action
Director: Nicolas Harvard
Writer: John Glosser, Ben Kabialis, Chris LaMont, Joseph Russo, Blair Kroeber
Release Date: February 3rd, 2023
Runtime: 1h 32m
Distributor: Screen Media Films