Bronx-set “Gun Hill Road” finds a father returning home from prison to discover his now-teenaged son is a willowy transgender person who hopes one day to make the full surgical switch. Reminiscent of last year’s “La Mission” in pitting a macho Latino dad against an only child’s emerging sexual identity, writer-director Rashaad Ernesto Green’s first feature is earnest and well cast, but less involving than it should be. Pedestrian execution and TV-familiar leads suggest smallscreen rather than theatrical destinations.
Released after three years for the latest in a series of routine crimes, Enrique (Esai Morales) gets a mixed welcome from the family he’s disappointed so often before. Hard-working spouse Angela (Judy Reyes) is understandably wary of how he’ll react to what she’s come to accept: that their son Michael (newcomer Harmony Santana) is a cross-dresser and identifies as female. Slow to grasp the situation, Enrique indeed does not react well, while other factors (falling back in with the local bad boys, spying the ex-con who assaulted him in stir) bode ill. But script and direction tend to telegraph all events, draining the competently packaged pic of tension, nuance and surprise.