Originally titled Homewrecker when it bowed at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, The Locksmith, from brother writer-directors Brad and Todd Barnes, is a rough-around-the-edges screwball comedy, offering up charms fleetingly similar to the Martini brothers’ Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire, which was one of the toasts of the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, back when they still handed out awards.
A quirky romantic comedy that unfolds mostly over the course of a single day, the film follows Mike (Anslem Richardson, of Life on Mars), a rehabilitated felon who, after a four-year stint in jail for selling drugs, gets out and tries to start putting his life back together, including reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend Monique (Michelle Krusiec). After taking a job as a locksmith, however, Mike unsuspectingly gets dragged into the neuroses of a desperate customer, Margo (Ana Reeder), when she recruits him to help her spy on her supposedly cheating art gallery owner boyfriend, Charles (Stephen Rannazzisi). Madcap zaniness ensues.
Margo’s obsessive, chatty, force-of-nature personality drives The Locksmith, and New York stage actress Reeder makes her sing — a bundle of contradictions that convincingly fit together. If she’s the octane, meanwhile, the subdued Richardson is the project’s oil, and his steadiness gives The Locksmith a much-needed counterbalancing presence. The Barnes brothers’ experience in a New York filmmaking collective entitled the Institute of Magical Dance (yes, seriously) gives the project a shared sense of unanimity and positivity rare to independent productions. Some audiences will definitely want more “meat,” or conventional dramatic substance here, but The Locksmith is a pleasant little surprise.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, The Locksmith comes to DVD presented in a fine 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with an English language 5.1 Dolby surround sound audio track, and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Apart from a slate of previews for other First Look titles, there are unfortunately no supplemental extras. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. B (Movie) D (Disc)