An intriguing character study about the lives of elevator union workers; the film explores love, work relationships, friendships, and the way death changes them all. Ten Eyck's cinematography is extremely impressive for such a young filmmaker, and his editing techniques showcase a highly under appreciated skill. While his writing of the short is very strong, his camera work acts as the strongest character in the entire film. LOCK-OUT/TAG OUT isn't exactly a fun film to watch, but it's not supposed to be. This is a film where the drama stands forefront versus the premise. Although the film is not without its bloody moments, it's a painfully accurate look at how things actually happen in dangerous work environments. The fact special effects master Maxwell Desotell is an elevator worker himself makes the visions of elevator shaft dropped bodies even more haunting. For Desotell, he was creating the images of the disasters that he overcomes every day a la 1000 WAYS TO DIE. Ten Eyck writes very natural dialogue but plot wise, there's a bit more foils to contend with. However, for a local Cleveland filmmaker, this is a remarkably ambitious piece...especially in acquiring and filming in working elevator shafts alone. Keith Ten Eyck isn't afraid to tackle the harsh realities of the chaos left behind in the lives when someone passes away, and he isn't afraid to do something other than the indie filmmaker staple of "shooting a horror movie in the woods with half naked women."
At just under twenty minutes, LOCK-OUT/TAG-OUT is arguably the most "different" from Keith Ten Eyck's earlier pieces. There's no fantastical elements. The story is meant to be a cerebral investigation to how guilt and remorse affect the human psyche in the presence of a tragic demise. It's a more relatable piece, a bit more conventional, and perhaps marketable...but that's how most gateway drugs work.
LOCK-OUT/TAG-OUT premieres FOR FREE at 7 p.m. tonight at Market Garden Brewery. Steve Macadams, another Cleveland filmmaker, will also screen his movie QBCCLE, which will also make its local premiere.