In disseminating a message that condemns prejudice and advocates tolerance, “Hate Crime” is an apt follow-up to the two Matthew Shepard-themed movies that aired on TV in 2002. But what is not entirely clear is what “Hate Crime” adds to the equation that hasn’t been done before. Still, boasting admirably high production values and a couple of marquee names, item could well turn up on cable.
Story centers on gay couple Robbie (Seth Peterson) and Trey (Brian J. Smith) and their Bible-thumping next-door neighbor Chris (Chad Donella), the son of a fundamentalist Christian pastor (Bruce Davison) and his wife (Susan Blakely). When Trey is fatally injured in a gay-bashing incident, Robbie suspects Chris, but the detective on the case (Giancarlo Esposito) blames Robbie. Only when Robbie does his own detective work does he discover the truth is more complicated than anyone thought. For the most part, “Hate Crime’s” dialogue is tired and uninspired, seemingly ripped from a dozen MOW’s. But one well-edited sequence intercutting two sermons deserves praise. As one minister preaches abomination, the other acceptance, both beg the question: Who, or what, is God?