Hate Crime

Vigilante justice arrives hot on the heels of a vicious gay bashing in Texas-based filmmaker Tommy Stovall's well-intentioned but convoluted thriller. Six years into their relationship, Trey McCoy (Brian J. Smith) and his boyfriend, Robbie Levinson (Seth Peterson), have settled into a comfortable life in an idyllic Dallas suburb where no one seems troubled...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Vigilante justice arrives hot on the heels of a vicious gay bashing in Texas-based filmmaker Tommy Stovall's well-intentioned but convoluted thriller. Six years into their relationship, Trey McCoy (Brian J. Smith) and his boyfriend, Robbie Levinson (Seth Peterson), have settled into a comfortable life in an idyllic Dallas suburb where no one seems troubled by having gay neighbors. In fact, Trey's parents, Barbara (Cindy Pickett) and Jim McCoy (Sean Hennigan), are so supportive of the relationship — and of Trey and Robbie's upcoming commitment ceremony — that Barbara has been urging them to adopt so she can finally become a grandmother. But it's all too good to last: Trey and Robbie's idyll is shattered a few weeks after the arrival of their new next-door neighbor, youth pastor Chris Boyd (Chad Donella). The son of a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher (Bruce Davison), Chris makes no secret of his hatred of homosexuals, and, after seeing Trey and Robbie kiss each other goodbye one morning, he warns Robbie to find God fast or watch his back. Disturbed, Robbie nevertheless lets the threat pass — until the night Trey takes their dog for a walk and doesn't return. Robbie finds Trey in a nearby park with massive head injuries, the result of having been beaten with a baseball bat. When Trey dies a few days later, the hate-crime investigation headed by Detective Fisher (Farah White) is booted over to Sergeant Esposito (Giancarlo Esposito) in Homicide. Heartbroken and frustrated by the investigation's slow progress, Robbie is horrified to learn that Sergeant Esposito's prime suspect is no longer Chris, whose parents provided an alibi, but Robbie himself. Egged on by a salty neighbor (Lin Shaye) who warns that the justice system doesn't guarantee justice, Robbie takes matters into his own hands and begins pursuing Chris. That Rob and Trey should be happily assimilated into a suburban community is an interesting twist from the usual portrayal of gay men and women as gay-ghetto dwellers or shadowy outsiders. But Trey and Robbie are such upright, model citizens that they resemble bland replicants more than they do real people. The secret motivations of other key characters are anything but surprising, and the plotting is so convoluted that it strains the credibility of what seems at first a plausible and of-the-moment scenario. And while no one really wants a gay DEATH WISH, Stovall's film could have been a little shorter and a lot tighter.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Vigilante justice arrives hot on the heels of a vicious gay bashing in Texas-based filmmaker Tommy Stovall's well-intentioned but convoluted thriller. Six years into their relationship, Trey McCoy (Brian J. Smith) and his boyfriend, Robbie Levinson (Seth P… (more)

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