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Simple Minds

Simple Minds


Hate Crime
Written and directed by Tommy Stovall
Starring Seth Peterson and Chad Donella
Image Entertainment

Robbie and Trey are the ideal gay couple: about to get married, blessed with an adorable dog and identically toned chests, and beloved by all their neighbors in a middle-class Dallas suburb. Well, make that almost all their neighbors: When Chris (Chad Donella}, a conservative preacher's son, moves in next door, his squinty eyes and homophobic threats set the couple on edge. Robbie's worst fears are confirmed when Trey (Brian J. Smith) ends up the victim of a hate crime. Was Chris responsible? Robbie (Seth Peterson) is determined to find out and take justice into his own hands. Hate Crime is an uneasy mix of whodunit, revenge fantasy, and social drama, with plot twists that may surprise, but thinly drawn characters who rarely do. The gay couple is as angelic and bland as the opposing fundamentalists are cruel, which makes Robbie's vigilantism both one-note and hard to argue with. The supporting characters are given a bit more personality to work with--notably Lin Shaye as a feisty neighbor and Donella, who strives mightily to give inner life to his clenched character. But the real crime is that the film reduces such important issues to an argument this simple.

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