A teenager’s public suicide sends shockwaves through their high school, as students and teachers alike reel and cope. On the fringe of the tragedy is Hashi, a shy creative writer who had a close friendship with the victim. Being generally shy and uncomfortable to begin with, Hashi – despite finding an emotional connection through poetry – doesn’t know how to exhale his pain. Unfortunately, he chooses ways to grieve that are detrimental to his life.
The Lockpicker is a magnified drama, anchored by a career-catapulting performance by first-time actor Keigian Umi Tang. With Hashi, Tang creates a character that’s so identifiable, the audience is both relieved and somber to connect and relate so well with him. The actor is also asked to take his character through extreme states of mind, which he also portrays with admirable confidence. When Hashi uses various substances to coat his sadness, Tang finds the subtleties in Hashi’s inner monologue while juggling Hashi’s sloppy appearance. The film is elevated by writer/director Randall Okita, who uses cinéma vérité inspired filmmaking to sensitively present depression.
The film’s conclusion doesn’t quite measure up though. Okita decides that a moody ending would be more interesting than a resolution that could provide helpful insight about persevering through heartache. Nonetheless, audiences will be effected by ‘The Lockpicker’.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie