A lurid dimestore novel come to life. Also a nearly perfectly orchestrated murder thriller set in the time after the internet made pornography — in this case, the gay variety — widely available, but before it made it free. Though based on a true story, it’s presented with none of a docudrama’s ragged, lumpy oddity: the narrative is on the lean side, but as taut and burnished as the bodies it depicts. And while the characters may be types, they’re excellent examples of those types. Christian Slater’s lonely, leering producer mourns the years he spent in a closet, and grooms gorgeous twink Garrett Clayton for stardom — exploiting the same youth he lusts after. Meanwhile, James Franco’s muscled-up, rage-addled Daddy figure can’t bear to fail his own beautiful boy-toy (Keegan Allen), not after what Stepdad did to the kid way back when. But when love, money, damage, and ambition get mixed, can violence be far behind? Director Justin Kelly makes the most of his talented and committed cast, mostly by managing the mood (alternately fabulous and sad) and staying out of their way. (2016) — Matthew Lickona
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