Title:  Hard

Release Date:  1999, 2004

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 97 min

MPAA Rating: SG NC-17

Distributor and Production Company: MPH, Jour de Fete

Director; Writer: John Huckert


Cast:   Noel Palomaria, Malcolm Moorman

Technical: Seems to be HD, flat ratio, dolby digital

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: Gay cops


Less is said about gay police than about gays in the military, but some of the underlying issues are the same. Cops have to be there for their partners, sometimes share intimate quarters and may fear being the objects of sexual evaluation (and that includes not being found attractive, as the script at one point points out). Most jurisdictions no longer ban gays from police employment, although the Dallas police department did so to the point of asking lie detector questions about it until the early 1990s, as did Fairfax County, VA, with the sodomy laws as justifications. But gay cops face considerable pressure to remain in the closet.


But on top of all that, this film sets up a fascinating premise. A gay cop (Raymond Vates, played by Noel Palomaria) becomes involved with a man whom he realizes may and in fact is a serial killer (Jack, played by Malcolm Moorman), and in fact a killer of mostly teenage boys. He has an intimate encounter, gets handcuffed to his bed for S&M, and his badge is stolen. Then he is almost framed for the murders himself. He gets off the hook as the story hits some inflection points to race toward another denouement. Now there are a variety of supporting characters, some of whom leave loose ends, that may be explained by the twist at the very end. There is the partner (Charles Lanyer). There is the other gay cop who looks too much like the killer (except that he has more chest hair than the killer). There is the kind bartender (the gay bar is called the “Hunting Ground”). There is the straight couple where Jack crashes, and has a homosexual affair behind the wife’s back, and in one scene, comes close to molesting the pre-pubescent son.


The film is billed as a police thriller, with a political bent, something like a gay “Law & Order”, but it has the grainy look of an October thriller, something that you expect nowadays from Dimension or Lions Gate. The producers say on the DVD that this was made with credit cards and amateurs, and that Deluxe and Technicolor both refused to print the film, presumably because of the male kissing (I doubt that, I wonder if a couple scenes are over a certain line for other reasons). They eventually bought old stock and got it printed themselves. There are cutting lines in the script (“Anyone is capable of murder” and AIDS is called “butt flu”). The film hits hard and is well done. It’s an amazing achievement for the resources available.    

Related reviews:.  GLBT films, age-issue films


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