Adapted from one of Richard Stevenson's popular gay-themed novels, Canadian director Ron Oliver's made-for-cable mystery pits Albany-based private investigator Donald Strachey (former child actor Chad Allen) against the shadowy figures threatening a gay activist who outs closeted homosexuals. John Rutka's (Jack Wetherall) inflammatory Rutka Report has made him a very unpopular man, and he doesn't care: His intent isn't to smear celebrities, but to out people in positions of power who conceal their homosexuality while failing to support or actively working against the interests of the gay community. When he's shot in his own home, he hires Strachey to protect him and uncover the assailant's identity. Strachey and his boyfriend, Tim (Sebastian Spence), both oppose Rutka's methods but are in the middle of renovating and seriously need the money. Strachey quickly comes to think Rutka and his much-younger boyfriend, Eddie (Woody Jeffreys), aren't telling him everything, a suspicion supported by local detective Bub Bailey (Daryl Shuttleworth), who's known Rutka since they were both kids. Bailey believes they faked the shooting and subsequent arson attack on the house. But after Rutka is kidnapped and found burned to death, Strachey is forced to admit he was wrong and starts really digging into the case, starting with Rutka's network of paid informants and some of the local celebrities and politicos whose secrets are now safe. Though slightly gamier than its follow-up, SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM (2006), this topical crime thriller is pitched more like the THIN MAN movies than grittier mysteries Tim and Donald even have a cute little dog named Dr. Watson, and if they don't achieve Charles-ian dipsomania, they consume an awful lot of martinis. The supporting characters include pedophile priests, voyeuristic hotel employees, a muscle-bound porn entrepreneur named Dik Steele (real life gay porn icon Matthew Rush, who provides the film's frontal nudity) and a foulmouthed Pee-wee Herman/Shari Lewis hybrid named Ronnie Linkletter (Sean Carey), who lords it over a local kiddie show like some fey Joan Crawford. The Albany setting is a refreshing change from the New York and L.A. beats that dominate detective stories.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: NR
- Review: Adapted from one of Richard Stevenson's popular gay-themed novels, Canadian director Ron Oliver's made-for-cable mystery pits Albany-based private investigator Donald Strachey (former child actor Chad Allen) against the shadowy figures threatening a gay ac… (more)