There have been several movies where the protagonist makes a mistake at the beginning of the movie and goes through the entire duration to finally turn his life around by the end, and there will be many more to follow. Nicolas Harvard’s 2023 release “The Locksmith” is one such story, with the central story revolving around a locksmith who spends a decade in jail after being double-crossed by a dirty cop and, upon being released, tries his best to connect with his estranged family. Although the movie isn’t a masterpiece by any means, it still makes for a decent watch for the weekends if you’re in the mood for a crime thriller with a bit of family drama mixed in the middle. Here’s all that happens in the movie.
‘The Locksmith’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie?
Nicolas Harvard’s 2023 neo-noir crime thriller is about an expert lock-picker named Miller Graham, who spent a decade in jail after a corrupt cop double-crossed Miller and his partner, killing the latter. After Miller is released, April, his partner’s now-adult sister, emotionally blackmails Miller into robbing a poker game, which is overseen by Zwick, the same corrupt cop who had arrested him. Meanwhile, Miller’s detective wife is now a part of Vice, and she gets involved in the situation when a prostitution racket is discovered. Will Miller be able to find a way out of the sticky situation, or is he going to head back to prison again?
What’s The Major Driving Force That Keeps Miller Graham Going After Coming Out Of Prison?
Miller Graham (Ryan Phillippe), the eponymous locksmith, accompanied by his buddy Kevin, brings his van next to the car of Detective Zwick (Jeffrey Nordling), who hands the duo a paper with a drawing of a safe and assures them that he’ll take care of the police radio. Although Kevin isn’t sure about the job, Miller goes ahead with it, and they manage to extract the safe and crack it to reveal bundles of cash. However, while removing the money, they spot a motion sensor, and a warning goes out to every police car in the vicinity, including Zwick’s. Kevin is worried about his sister April, but Miller rushes him and sends him out with a bag. Meanwhile, Zwick shoots his own car door with a revolver and then shoots Kevin dead as soon as he steps out. When Miller appears, Zwick arrests him and whispers in his ear the story he needs to go by. Kevin was armed and shot at Zwick, who killed him in self-defense. He also warns Miller to remember about the safety of his wife, Beth, and his baby, and the locksmith has to accept his fate.
Ten years go by, and Miller steps out on parole to be greeted by his friend Frank (Ving Rhames), who does everything in his power to help the man. Frank takes Miller on as a locksmith, gives him an old phone and some cash, and gives him his truck back. Frank also informs him that he kept in touch with Beth and Miller’s daughter Lindsay, but he’s not aware of what became of Kevin’s sister April because she didn’t want to keep in touch. That evening, Miller calls his ex-wife Beth so he can meet her and their daughter Lindsay for a lunch date. The next day, when the mother and daughter arrive, Miller isn’t sure how to speak to his daughter, so when she’s ordering pie, he apologizes for the choices he made in his life and the hardships his family had to faced as a result, and Beth requests her ex to not abandon her daughter again. Frank later gives Miller some tough love about how the locksmith messed up in life, and now he has to repair the relationship with his family.
The next morning, Miller is woken up by Frank, who informs the locksmith that he’s been called for a job. Miller installs a digital lock on a property, and he’s approached by Garrett, the owner of all the rental properties on the block, who says that he found out about Miller’s skills from one of the locksmith’s acquaintances. Miller is bewildered to learn that the one who informed Garrett about him was April, Kevin’s sister. Garrett says that April rents a property on the block, and he tries helping her out. Upon returning to Frank’s, Miller finds a woman waiting for him outside, and she introduces herself as April. She then says that she’s in need of money and needs Miller’s help to get it, and obviously, it’s not going to be a legal and law-abiding job. Having gone straight after stepping out of prison, Miller is unsure about it, so April huffs angrily and drives away. Frank advises Miller to focus on what’s important—his family.
While heading to a job, Miller is made to stop by two cops, and Zwick—the corrupt detective—arrives and makes Miller step out. They bring him to the side, and Zwick informs him that he’s retiring as a lieutenant and reminds Miller that arresting him and killing his friend helped him earn the title a decade back, and then threatens him to keep his mouth shut about Zwick’s involvement in the case. The two stooges—Detective Perez and Jones—then proceed to search Miller’s car and retrieve the locksmith’s tools and proceed to beat Miller before bringing him to the station. Thankfully, the Chief is an honest cop who lets Miller go because he wasn’t using the tools, although he informs the locksmith that he needs certification to use the tools. Right next to Miller is his ex-wife Beth, who strongly advises him to avoid trouble because it’s his penultimate strike before being thrown back into jail. He returns to Frank’s and asks for a proper handyman job, even if it means mopping the floors, just so that he can stay near his daughter, Lindsay.
Meanwhile, Zwick is retiring and is applauded by the department for his years of serVice. He then asks Beth to meet him in his office. Inside, Zwick offers her the empty position on Vice, and after some thinking, she decides to take it on the egging of Zwick and his cronies. She then calls up Miller and asks if he can watch over Lindsay because she has to attend Zwick’s retirement party and then drop her off outside the club, and Miller gladly accepts. He waits outside her piano class, has lunch with her, shows her how to pick locks in his shop, and then drops her off with her mother. Beth informs him that she’s taking the job at Vice because she still doesn’t know the real story of what happened the night Miller was arrested. As the mother and daughter leave, Zwick comes out and makes pointed comments that Beth needs to depend on his stooges when they go to dangerous areas as part of Vice. Miller returns to the workshop to find April waiting for him, and she says that she’s in desperate need of money because she needs to escape Garrett, who uses his real estate business as a front for his escort serVice business, and April is part of the crew. She shows the several bruises on her body inflicted by Garrett and asks Miller to help, but he says he won’t break the law again. April reminds him that her brother died because of him, and it’s his fault that she’s in this mess currently, so he’s obligated to help her. April reveals that Garrett hosts high-stakes poker games, and the money is kept in his office, so Miller has to break in, steal the money, leave it at Frank’s, and wait for April—the pushover. Miller agrees to the terms.
The next morning, Beth looked into the case files that showed prostitution cases had dropped in the last 3 years, and each woman who had been arrested on the charges gave the location of the block where Garrett owned all the properties. Elsewhere, Miller and April scout the spot where the game will happen and also learn that the security will be entrusted to Zwick, Perez, and Jones. April states that the take is half a million dollars that she’ll have for herself and disappear. At night, Miller sneaks into Garrett’s house, wearing a ski mask, and quickly unlocks all the doors, but he needs April’s help to distract Zwick, so she breaks a glass, and Miller sweeps past, but the lieutenant spots something. Miller manages to break the safe and fill up the bag with cash, but Zwick enters, and a fight breaks out, but Miller overpowers the corrupt cop and flees with his pistol. The other two cops chase him, so he uses April as a shield and escapes. Unfortunately for Miller, though, Zwick finds his toolbox in Garrett’s office, where they had the scuffle. Miller stashes the money in a safe in the workshop and tries calling April repeatedly, but there’s no answer.
The next morning, a woman watches from the opposite house as Miller enters April’s house and finds the furniture broken and scattered, and the entire place is a mess. At Beth’s place, Lindsay is casually unlocking her mother’s handcuffs when Tanya, Beth’s acquaintance, arrives. Tanya tells her that she and April work for Garrett, who runs an escort serVice, and that the girls had been attracted by the promise of fine clothes and great cars, but now they want out because Garrett is a horrible man who beats April brutally. She adds that the previous night there was something like a break-in at April’s place, and currently, she’s missing, and she spotted Miller entering her house today. She also offers a pen drive that contains incriminating photos of Zwick, Perez, Jones, and Garrett, as well as audio where Garrett chides Zwick for mercilessly beating April. At the workshop, Frank finds the hidden cash and demands an answer from Miller, who says that it was his responsibility to help April, and now she’s missing. Frank implores him to come clean to Beth, but he asks Frank to keep the money for at least a day as he goes in search of April.
Beth herself arrives at the workshop later and asks Miller if he’s seen April after he was released, and he denies it. She requests him to stay out of the case because it’s a murky thing, and stepping in would mean enormous trouble. Miller flatly denies any knowledge about April and refuses to say what happened on the night he was arrested. At the station, Beth submits an envelope to Chief Sterne, raising suspicion of Perez, and although Sterne promises to cooperate and get the State Police involved, Perez peeps in to see where the envelope is being stored. The same night, Miller returns to Garrett’s place and interrogates him by holding his head underwater until he reveals that Zwick has April with him; while at the station, Perez breaks into Sterne’s office and plays the pen drive with the incriminating evidence. Just as Miller leaves, April cues Zwick to go in, indicating the two were in cahoots all along. The corrupt lieutenant goes in, tells Garrett that he’s going to take all the money for himself, shoots the property dealer dead, and leaves Miller’s toolbox with him. Miller returns to the workshop, and as Frank pleads with him to go to Beth, she co-incidentally drops in with Lindsay. As the kid sings “Twinkle twinkle little star” with Uncle Frank, Miller confesses to Beth the entire story. She leaves with the money to surrender it to Chief Sterne, entrusting Lindsay with Miller and Frank.
Zwick and April are driving to a motel when he gets a call from Perez. Zwick tells the stooges to plant the gun used to murder Garrett on Miller and get the money from Frank’s workshop, and Perez tells their boss all about the evidence that’ll ruin them. The lieutenant panics and asks them to head over to the workshop, kill whoever they need to, and bring the money back. At the workshop, Miller, his daughter, and Frank are watching TV when Miller gets up to receive a phone call, and it’s April on the other end. As Miller tries talking to her, he’s shot in the leg by someone, and Frank shoves Lindsay into a safe space, and a firefight begins. Jones and Miller shoot at each other until Frank kills the former with a shotgun, but Perez sneaks up on him and kills Miller’s friend, kidnaps Lindsay, and threatens to get Beth to return the money. Meanwhile, police dispatch alerts Beth about the shootout, and she returns to find her daughter gone.
As Beth breaks down over her daughter and Miller tries consoling her, Perez arrives at the motel with Lindsay, and April vehemently disagrees with using a child as a pawn. However, Lindsay is handcuffed to a table, and Zwick heads to a place to wait for Miller and the cash. Frustrated, April leaves the room with the excuse of going out for a smoke and texts Miller about the location of the motel. As Beth goes after their daughter, Miller heads to the location, and Zwick asks him to come. Thanks to the lessons from her dad, Lindsay opens the handcuff using her bobby pin and starts running just when Beth arrives, and she kills Perez. The mother then takes the keys from the dead cop’s pockets, and the two head to save Lindsay’s dad. The dad is in deep trouble, however, because he learns from Zwick that the entire plan was April’s all along, and she despises Miller for getting her brother killed. So, Zwick will kill Miller and take over for Garrett, while April will take the money. He prepares to shoot Miller, but instead, he’s shot in the chest by April. She approaches him as he coughs blood and says that she always knew he lied about her brother’s death because Kevin would never point a gun at anyone and proceeds to shoot Zwick in the head. However, she’s not done yet and says that Miller has to pay for her brother’s death but is intercepted by Beth, who thanks her for tipping them off about Lindsay’s location, and Miller begs for her forgiveness. April breaks down and surrenders. While sitting with her mother at the foot of an ambulance, Lindsay looks with gratitude at April, who stares back from a police car before breaking down.
Some time has passed, and Miller has gotten two jobs and is working very hard to get a college fund started for Lindsay, while her mother is promoted to the lieutenant position. The parents arrive at Lindsay’s piano recital, and she appears to fumble at first as tears roll down her cheek. She nervously plays the tune of “Twinkle, twinkle little star” while crying, as a tribute to her uncle Frank, before beginning a well-practiced symphony, and everyone, including her parents, applauds after she finishes.
‘The Locksmith’ Ending Explained – Why Did April Not Shoot Miller In The End?
The movie leaves a lot to be desired in terms of screenplay, acting, and story, but it makes up for the predictable story by picking up the pace towards the end. Things start spiraling out of control after Miller is injured, Frank is killed, and Lindsay is kidnapped. Although she had planned everything from scratch to play on Miller’s vulnerability and trap him, April shows her humane side upon seeing the child being brought in handcuffed and decides to alert her parents about her location. It’s pure luck that Lindsay manages to break out of the handcuffs and break into a run right when Beth arrives to kill Perez. It was obvious that Zwick would kill Miller as soon as he had the money, but when April showed up and killed Zwick, it seemed for a moment that she’d side with Miller. Instead, she pointed the gun at him and would’ve killed him if Beth hadn’t arrived and reminded her that she was not a bad person because she helped them find Lindsay. Miller apologizes for getting her brother killed 10 years ago, and it’s probably him admitting his fault and asking for her forgiveness that makes April lower the gun. It’s possible that she only thought she wanted to kill him, but what she needed was to hear from Miller’s mouth that he was sorry.
“The Locksmith” is a 2023 mystery thriller film directed by Nicolas Duchemin Harvard.