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Cruel But Necessary - drama / independent film DVD review
CRUEL BUT NECESSARY Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Wendel Meldrum, Luke Humphrey, Mark Humphrey, Julie Payne
Director: Saul Rubinek   Distributor: Somerville House
DVD release: 11 November 2008   Runtime: 92 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio Tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - English), Additional scenes, Two commentary tracks (dir. Saul Rubinek & producer Elinor Reid; writer/lead actor Wendel Meldrum), Cast and crew interviews, Web link to additional material

Directed by Saul Rubinek, Cruel But Necessary stars Wendel Meldrum (she also wrote the screenplay) as Betty Munson, a woman who goes on a journey of self-discovery after she becomes aware of her husband's infidelity after watching a videotape of their family vacation.

That's where the story opens up: with her filming her family (the movie is from the camera's perspective) as she exposes her philandering husband. From there, Betty decides to videotape every aspect of her life, even as her comfortable middle-class existence falls apart. At one point, Betty creates a handbag with a hole in it so she can take the camera with her, which records the family dynamics and social awkwardness without bias.

Many films have used this technique to varying effect: Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, Redacted. The camera essentially turns the audience into voyeurs, but this time it's used in a dramatic/comedic setting. There is a bit of annoying shaky-cam because we get to see Betty move, adjust, and set up the camera. I'm not quite sure if this adds or takes away anything from the film; I think the story would have been just as effective had it been shot in a traditional manner.

Cruel But Necessary may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're more apt to enjoy indy films, you'll definitely find this to be an interesting movie.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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