“Stonewall” is a bit of a head-scratcher. A fictional account of the 1969 Stonewall riots — a series of events that subsequently triggered the gay rights movement in America — it’s directed by Hollywood’s resident disaster-movie specialist, Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow”).
Emmerich’s depiction of the riots (the movie shows only one of them) has an impressive sense of urgency, but it’s hard to shift the feeling that the vicious cops beating up men and boys on the street are like aliens, and the gays are citizens of Earth fighting to reclaim the planet from intergalactic predators. Despite its human rights message, “Stonewall” is heavy-handed and action-centric. The LGBT community and its issues are divided into black and white, good and evil. Nuanced? Not in the least. Another director from the field — Gus Van Sant for example — may have chosen to make a film much more personal and complex.