Shy (Silas Howard) is a transgender man who is deeply affected by the death of his father. Yearning for a change in his life, the man is overcome by grief and determined to break through the limitations of poverty. Since he considers himself a failure and primarily subscribes to nihilism as a way of life, Shy travels to California and plans to commit a series of crimes to overturn his entire financial situation. In fact, he is not overly concerned with the money he will make out of these endeavors. What he cares about more is that he finally breaks his dreadful rut – even if it means he is caught and sent to prison.
Shy’s first undertaking is robbing a grocery store. A chance encounter with another man makes this sly ambition less risky and more likely to happen. The man’s name is Valentine (Harry Dodge) and he is an atypical, lively soul who relies mostly on his intuition and spontaneity to guide himself through life. Shy is drawn to the man’s confidence and quirk, as well as his acceptance of his own flaws and peculiarities. The would-be hook soon understands that Valentine is someone who is not only comfortable with his unconventionality, but is also grateful for it and for the fact that it pushed him towards self-love. Developing a powerful, intimate bond with each other, the two men become partners in crime and begin a unique adventure filled with freedom, laughter and self-discovery.
“The essential humanity of the characters shines through, giving face and form to a subculture the movies have largely neglected.”
— The New York Times
“Although it’s shot on digital video, cinematographer Ann T. Rosetti gives the movie such a rich, textured look that I had initially assumed that it was shot on 16mm film.”
— Flipside Movie Emporium
“It’s indeed an important film in its own way and just about the only film I can think of that allows the main characters not only occupy an ambiguous space in regards to both gender and sexuality, but also has a narrative that shows no interest in forcing or demanding distinctions be made.”
— Memories Of The Future
Did You Know?
Dodge and Howard were interested in pushing the limits with their motion picture, particularly in terms of language and visuals. Silas stated that the movie “had its roots in our extended family of weirdos in San Francisco” and that it was meant to convey the energy and creative spirit of the warm, kooky LGBT community that they are a part of. Despite their passion, the movie required gargantuan efforts from everyone involved – Harry Dodge called By Hook Or By Crook “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” and actress Stanya Kahn claimed that the film melted away all of her savings and nearly ruined her marriage. Review our Gay Themed Films Here