Triple Crossed

TLA Releasing,

Sean Paul Lockhart

Linda Andersson

Jack Brockett,
Sean Paul Lockhart,
Laura Reilly,
Tellier Killaby,
Addison Graham

Unrated, 99 minutes

Murder For Hire?
by Michael D. Klemm
Posted online November, 2013

This one falls into my guilty pleasure zone. Triple Crossed is the directorial debut of Sean Paul Lockhart. A former porn star, under the name Brent Corrigan, Lockhart is making a name for himself as an actor in narrative queer films (Judas Kiss, Truth). Triple Crossed is a low budget, yet somewhat nifty, sexual thriller. Its concept is good, and it’s a lot of fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

Chris Jensen (Jack Brockett) is a homeless veteran, living in his car. He exercises in the park, scavenges empty bottles, eats someone’s discarded lunch from a trash can, and jogs shirtless up and down a long flight of hill-side stairs. We will learn that he was Special Ops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and that he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is self medicating.

Chris follows up on a job and the boss, eager to meet him, arranges a meeting at her home. Jackie Townsend (Laura Reilly) rises from her backyard pool in a flattering bikini for a job interview that’s more like an attempt at seduction. She tells Chris that his drug test came back “dirty,” blowing his chances for a security position, but she has another proposition. Knowing his military background, and his dire financial straits, she offers him $50,000 to kill somebody.

Chris visibly reacts to the picture she shows him and asks why she wants him dead. His name is Andrew Warner and he was her brother, Tyler’s, lover. When Tyler was killed In Afghanistan, he left all his money, and controlling stocks in the company, to Andrew. She wants him out of the picture so that the inheritance will revert back to her. Chris wants a couple days to think about it, and she warns him that this stays between them or she will find “very creative ways to make [him] pay.”

Chris follows Andrew and then stages a random meeting. A friendship quickly grows. Andrew (director Lockhart) is “the boy next door,” a super nice guy who, after grieving for two years, has finally decided to move on. He is drawn to Chris; the military connection having a lot to do with Andrew’s growing feelings of trust. But is Chris to be trusted? Andrew confesses later that “weird things” have been happening to him since Tyler’s death, and he thinks that Jackie is trying to kill him for the money. An accidental, but incriminating, discovery will awaken suspicions about his new boyfriend who suddenly appeared out of nowhere a few days ago.

Chris doesn’t look like a murderer but the cinema is filled with stories about charismatic killers. Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt is one of the best examples and the master’s first rule was that the killer must be attractive otherwise he’d never get close to his victims. Chris charms Andrew very quickly. But then, when he doesn't push Andrew off a cliff when they go hiking in Tobanga Canyon, the viewer is left scratching his head. A lot of information is withheld during the film’s first hour, and Chris’ true motives are far from clear.

Most gay male viewers will undoubtedly expect Chris to fall in love with Andrew so there can be lots of sex scenes, so why even pretend that Chris might actually kill him? It seems like we’re supposed to think that the cash-strapped Chris might be desperate enough to play murder-for-hire. Why else have Andrew say, "I know, you'd have to kill me," when Chris explains that what he did in the military was classified? But I just didn’t feel any threat coming from his character at all. A good third act twist explains everything and Triple Crossed begins shaping into a pretty good thriller after all. I was enjoying most of the last half hour but then another twist, regrettably, sends the film over a cliff.

The cast is likable. The chemistry is there between Brockett and Lockhart as Chris and Andrew, and the relationship between them is allowed to develop in a leisurely and believable manner. They are certainly hot for each other when the sex starts. Laura Reilly plays Jackie as if she were Gordon Gekko crossed with Madonna; a very dangerous femme fatale.

I commend the filmmakers for trying to deepen the plot by addressing the plight of homeless and abandoned veterans - I can't think of many queer films that do - but this theme needed to be fleshed out more. There’s a nice scene where Chris has lost his meds and Andrew brings him down from a bad episode with a long massage - and then his PTSD is forgotten for the rest of the movie. I have to confess that it was also difficult, at times, for me to see Chris as a shell-shocked vet. He’s supposed to be wrestling with his demons but, with that perpetual smile on the actor’s face, he just doesn’t look very tormented. And isn’t he supposed to be destitute? If he’s living in his car, and digging through trash cans, how does he afford drugs, cigarettes, booze and a smartphone?

There are a few script problems and continuity lapses but, if you ignore them, the film moves along at a good clip and it’s sporadically sexy and suspenseful. You’ll also need to ignore a few lapses in logic - substituting stupidity for suspense, our boys stop to have sex again (when they should be getting out of town ASAP) giving their enemy enough time to find them for the far-fetched finale. This is what I meant when I said that it's fun as long as you don't think about it too much. Still, even though Triple Crossed isn’t Hitchcock, it’s not Ed Wood either. It’s a mostly pleasant diversion, and I like a guilty pleasure now and then.


Sean Patrick Lockhart also appears in:
Judas Kiss
As Brent Corrigan:
The Big Gay Musical
Another Gay Sequel