›› On the Other Hand, Death
a film by Ron Oliver.
2008 | 85 mins | Canada.
principal players: Chad Allen / Donald Strachey, Sebastian Spence / Timmy Callahan, Margot Kidder / Dorothy Fisher, Gabrielle Rose / Edith Strong, Damon Runyan / Andrew McWhirter, Lori Ann Triolo / Gina Santer, William MacDonald / Jonas Baskin, Keegan MacIntosh / Derek Baskin,
Barclay Hope / Carl Deems, Kerry James / Joey Deems, Ralph Alderman / Sheriff Reg Howard and with series recurring characters Nelson Wong as Kenny Kwon and Daryl Shuttleworth as Detective "Bub" Bailey.
Official Synopsis: "When vandalism and anti-gay hate threaten a rural lesbian couple, private investigator Donald Strachey is first on the scene and out for justice. As the attacks escalate, Strachey uncovers a series of devastating secrets that soon put his own life in the line of fire."
I have to confess to being a bit of a fan of America's favourite gay private eye. Thankfully and in the main, this, the third in the series of four Donald Strachey film adaptations, as based on the books by Richard Stevenson, does not disappoint, with Chad Allen in the lead role on vibrant form throughout, even if Margot Kidder steals the show as straight talking guidance counsellor Dorothy - naturally. Wonderfully complimented by Gabrielle Rose as her life partner Edith, this is a film with a strong to thy own self, be true message embedded in its celluloid, an out and proud theme that is not only shown in the central gay and lesbian relationships, but further in a subplot that revolves around Dorothy's encounter with a homophobic father, his gay son and a young man who wants to offer his son more than just the open arms of sexual acceptable.
When three's a crowd, in On the Other Hand, Death.
True, the plot is a shade more convoluted than previously, courtesy of the ole narrative ploy of rolling two seemingly unrelated cases, into one. Yet it still has our man doing what he does best, namely exposing many a dark secret along an investigative path of thrills, chills and requisite twists. Only this is a case with a difference, as Strachey is soon to come face to face with his lover Timmy's hunk of an ex-boyfriend Andrew; a character that is and by no surprise both literally and metaphorically speaking, a friend of Dorothy and here cue Damon Runyan turning up the sensuous bare-arsed heat. Only can the boy be trusted?
Then again, who can be trusted? For the homophobic element of the story, rightly disturbing, is but cinematic misdirection for ... well, that would be saying. What can be said is that production values are and as expected universally high, whilst the departure from the city to the snow covered terrain of the countryside makes for a refreshing change of location. Yes, there's a scene that's just too saccharine-coated for its own good and yet Strachey's uplifting message to the two young men taking their tentative steps together on the same-sex road of life, is frankly worth the price of admission alone. In short and as ever, our man delivers the goods, even if personally I could have done with a bit more spark in the narrative department. That the monogamous relationship between Strachey and lover boy Timmy remains the foundation stone of the series, kind of goes without saying.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 3 stars.