Actor/writer Wendel Meldrum is Cruel But Necessary in her smart commentary.
CRUEL BUT NECESSARY (Anchor Bay, 2005) D: Saul Rubinek, w/ Wendel Meldrum, Luke Humphrey. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNNNN Rating: NNN
Thanks to a strong extras package, a funny movie with a solid emotional core turns into a set of brilliant lessons in ultra-low-budget filmmaking and writer-actor-director relations.
Shot on $10,000 over seven months of weekends, Cruel But Necessary charts the disintegration of Betty Munson, who loses husband, job and home, and documents it all on her hidden video camera.
We see everything through Betty's camera, and director Saul Rubinek keeps the visuals lively and the pace brisk with a string of creative devices organic to the story. His commentary goes into detail on methods and motives.
Wendel Meldrum, who never lets her great sense of comic timing get in the way of Betty's realism, wrote the original script and has a very different take than Rubinek on the movie and the character. She lays it out in her commentary, and the extensive deleted scenes demonstrate what she had in mind.
EXTRAS Two commentaries, making-of interviews, deleted scenes. Widescreen.