At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the Barnes brothers’ (Brad and Todd) film HOMEWRECKER (now titled THE LOCKSMITH) took home the top prize in the festival’s inaugural micro-budget showcase, NEXT. Not too shabby. I had the opportunity to see the film and it’s super fun. Plot plot plot rules here – but so does performance, and Anslem Richardson (Mike) and Ana Reeder (Margo) are great as the unlikely team sleuthing down infidelity in Margo’s unstable, crazy Manhattan loft life.
Over one summer day in New York City, prison-inmate-on-work-release Mike is taken hostage, so to speak, by the flirtatious, spontaneous Margo, a woman fixated on her boyfriend’s possible sins, willing to go to any length to fill her seemingly languorous hours with something amusing. Margo ensnares Mike into helping her, and of course mayhem leads to mayhem leads to mayhem. It’s a movie about the magic and unpredictability of unlikely interaction, but what’s also there, prominently and without being addressed explicitly, is race and class in New York.
The rich have gotten richer in Manhattan, the ‘service class’ tending to their every need, and the Barnes brothers and co-writer Sophie Goodhart have imagined an entangling that is a little familiar (black guy’s in jail and diabetic, white girl’s rich and spastic) but also feels true. The wealthy people in this movie do drugs freely; the working class go to jail for it, are forced to blame each other and key each other’s cars. In the end, I like very much that it addresses how the jungle gym of the city somewhat randomly forces people together, and how lives might take on a new, subtle hue after the power of one simple day. Even though it’s small, harmless drama – it feels lasting. Check it out upon arrival.