Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cruel & Unusual, Atonement for the Worst of Us

Fantasy.  In a weird way, 2014's "Cruel & Unusual" can be fit into that category.  Not a feel good film, but even in the purest evil, perhaps there is some sort of redemption for the vilest of mankind. Director Merlin Dervisevic will take you on a voyage through a brutal murder and perhaps a journey into your own psyche.  Some may compare this film to "Cube" or perhaps to the loop film "Triangle," but those comparisons may be too simplistic.

Maylon (Bernadette Saquibal) has been murdered...or has she?  The beautiful Filipino mail-ordered bride of Edgar (David Richmond-Peck) has died violently...her windpipe was Edgar.  Uh-oh! Edgar's fate will be far worse than death.  Mysteriously he appears in some facility in a group meeting.  His group?  They all brutally and violently killed their families.  One soul, Julien (Michael Ekland) drowned his little children.  Edgar is adamant.... he doesn't belong there.  He is then sent to relive the murder....over and over.  Each time, new facts are made clear. Initially we are on Edgar's side.  Maylon was a flirt planning on dumping him and shacking up with a better looking guy.  Or so that is the story Edgar clings to.  Get this, Edgar accidentally killed her after Maylon poisoned him.  Surely...Edgar doesn't belong with the rest of these fiends.  Or does he?  This therapy will be painful, physically and spiritually as Edgar ever nears the truth.
Through the constant loop, we are able to see Edgar's point of view....then Maylon's.  Now we're confused.  Which one is true?  By the time we see Maylon's son's, Gogon (Monsour Cataquiz), point of view, we are heartbroken. How awful!  Perhaps Edgar does belong in this group.  We are not left at confusion, however.  The film continues with a journey.  Could Edgar be a victim of a misunderstanding or is he a vile monster...or both?  If both, is it too late for him to leave a noble and virtuous imprint on this entire bloody affair?  What is this mysterious place he is confided in?  Hell, perhaps?  Mr. Dervisevic does a fabulous job at displaying Edgar's insecurity matched against Maylon's isolation.  No spoilers here, but the ending is wonderful.  I won't say happy, but very fitting and appropriate.
We do sense Edgar is different from the psychos he has been matched up with.  Edgar wants to make things right, even though it may be too late (...or is it?).  Contrast that to William (Richard Harmon), who carved up his mom and dad and looks as though he would do it over and over if he could.  Available on Netflix, this is a weird one which will keep you thinking long after you have put on the next film.


1 comment:

  1. Great review! I like how you focused on the evolution of the story as Edgar learns more and more about the circumstances of his "crime".