‘Hate Crime’


In a Dallas suburb, a homophobic preacher’s son (Chad Donella) moves next door to a handsome gay couple (Seth Peterson and Brian J. Smith). Given this setup and the rather unsubtle title—both redolent of made-for-TV dramas and the gay film fest circuit—you would think you know what happens next. But first-time director Tommy Stovall stirs in enough plot twists (some more plausible than others) to keep you guessing—as well as seething with frustration. When Hate Crime confounds expectations, it transcends the whodunit-of-the-week template. On the other hand, when the plot gets lost in irrational revenge fantasies, you’ll wish you had stayed home watching reruns. Bonus points for luxury casting: Bruce Davison as the cartoonish Bible-thumping dad, creepily reminiscent of his X-Men role, and Giancarlo Esposito as a detective whose prejudice threatens to veer the investigation off course, along with the rest of the film.