Cruel But Necessary Saul Rubinek

Cruel But Necessary Saul Rubinek
Appealing, well acted and often quite clever, Cruel but Necessary proves to be an interesting and successful examination of how one rebuilds their ideological framework after their entire world comes crumbling down around them. However, it may be too esoteric and tangential for mainstream audiences to appreciate and engage in. This stems in part from the frequent first-person confessional approach of the narrative, in addition to the inevitable lack of framing and perspective that comes with a "hidden camera" tactic. Forcing viewers to actively engage in the text, fill in blanks and assign their perspective without non-diegetic music and other typical cinematic devices to guide them will ultimately lead to boredom and frustration in most, but curiosity in a select few. Following an inadvertent on camera confession of infidelity during a family vacation, a marriage is broken, leaving Betty Munson (Wendel Meldrum) and her son Darwin (Wendel Meldrum's real life son Luke Humphrey) to rebuild their lives. Finding catharsis in documentation, Betty records many of her life events via a camera hidden in her purse, which is essentially the point of view for the entire film. As pointed out during the director commentary track, the film could have easily fallen into the trappings of simply idealizing Betty, offering only her perspective and insights. However, effort is exerted by both Rubinek and the supporting actors to keep this issue at bay, humbling Betty on occasion. In addition to the director's commentary with Saul Rubinek and producer Elinor Reid, which is a lot of Rubinek pointing out the obvious, there is a track with writer/star Wendel Meldrum. Both tracks cover a lot of the same ground, discussing what it was like to shoot over seven months, uncovering some of the cheats and pointing out "earthy" product placements, which really just makes them all look pretentious. Also included are many deleted "Betty" confessionals, which are really quite amusing, along with 40 minutes worth of interviews. (Anchor Bay)