Directed by Randall Okita
Official Selection, 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival
Randall Okita’s thrilling feature debut delivers the strange sensation of holding your breath while being socked in the stomach and the heart. It is beautiful, violent, suffocating, nerve-wracking, perverse, dangerous, emotionally wrought, emotionally dead. Holding still in every gorgeous frame is Keigian Umi Tang, a first-time young actor with killer cheekbones and the expanding magnetic presence of a black hole in the middle of a freeway of feelings.
Based loosely on Okita’s personal experiences, LOCKPICKER follows Hashi, a tender high schooler distinguished by outer unremarkableness and inner freefall. Hashi fills his days with petty theft, academic flatlining, and an unmooring triggered by a friend’s death and sustained by the corridors of teenage brutality occurring in the pores of every interaction around him. Hashi’s dingy ecology is forested by tinny audio loops of trauma’s ghosts and lushly surreal moments on repeat which surround him in blankets of feeling to muffle the cuts happening daily to his soul. As Hashi’s inner cannibalism and attempts to change his world reach a breaking point, LOCKPICKER asks, how the hell are we supposed to survive a maze of everyday violence with our souls intact?
Okita’s mastery and eye-opening lens transcends what could easily be a dark cynical tale into a film of heartrending tenderness and empathy along the lines of Gus Van Sant’s teenage micro-universes. We are walking the long trails of adolescent spiritual ambiguity with all its tension, hope, and pain. Newcomer Keigian Umi Tang is simply electric. Dramatically and emotionally unplaceable, Tang transforms numbness-as-armor into the highest form of feeling, a slow keening death with an explosion waiting at its very core. –Christina Ree
Writer: Randall Okita
Starring: Linnea Currie-Roberts, Evan Gerolimon