Monday, October 18, 2021

Cruel Summer, This Won't Be Easy to Watch

Oh no! You'll be uttering that short phrase almost as soon as this film begins.  From the first couple of minutes after the opening credits, it is clear what is about to transpire. The viewer will stay tuned as he prays he is wrong.  What unfolds is sordid and depraved.  What's even worse...we'll all think the same thing, is 2016's "Cruel Summer" an apt metaphor for what western civilization does to decent folk who may be just a little different than ourselves?  Directed by Phillip Escott and Craig Newman, "Cruel Summer" is an important film that will cause us all to look into ourselves and our ability for compassion and love.

Danny (Richard Pawulski) is an autistic teenager.  He is set to leave solo for a camping weekend in which he will earn merit badges for putting up a tent, making a fire, catching fish, and enduring the wilderness.  He is a better man than I.  His very sweet parents (Grace Dixon and  Gary Knowles) are so proud...and worried.  Danny is pure and kind hearted and the nature landscape he will venture into welcomes him.  Uh oh...not everyone at his high school is kind.  Three scum of the Earth vermin are up to no good.  Julia (Natalie Martins) wants Nick (Danny Miller) to be her boyfriend.  She concocts a story that Nick's old GF was raped by autistic Danny.  She further convinces Nick that Danny is a serial pedophile.  All lies.  Neer-do-well Calvin (Reece Douglas) joins this duo.

Nick, upset his old GF dumped him, decides to follow Danny into the wilderness and hack him to pieces.  Julia and Calvin tag along believing Nick will calm down and relent.  He doesn't.  Now the evil trio hunt Danny.  Of course they find him.  What follows will sicken you.  What follows can serve as a metaphor for how our advanced civilization treats those who may need just a little help.  What follows is how we view people that remind us of our shortcomings in charity and compassion.  What follows is brutal and disgusting.

This won't be an easy film to watch.  In a society which is coming dangerously close to dumping the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill, and octogenarians into veritable death camps, "Cruel Summer" is a believable tale that will stay with you.  Nowadays...evil and the grotesque is celebrated as purity and kindness are derided.  Think about that when you watch "Cruel Summer."

1 comment:

  1. Charity is a pact with god, to get on, nothing actually about helping the person, powerful last paragraph.... blood is thicker than wine and oh so bitter.