DVD Cleaver’s Destiny

DVD Cleaver’s Destiny
DVD Cleaver’s Destiny
Run time: 92 min
Rating: 5.9
Genres: Drama
Director: Karl Lentini
Writers: Karl Lentini
Stars: Jenny Leona di Gennaro, Karl Lentini, Alexis Corey
Country: USA
Release Date: 27 September 2013 (USA)
Box Office
Budget: $20,000 (estimated)

1 Comment

  1. Karl Lentini's "Cleavers Destiny" is a drama which focuses on Amy Cleaver, whom after initially believing that her father was dead, learns on her eighteenth birthday that he in fact may be alive and well from her rather obnoxious "psychic" mother Norma. When upon her daughters first venture into the world of adulthood (one that is not going too well as it is) decides in her infinite wisdom to give her a box of her fathers possessions to create all sorts of emotional distress, tacked on an already unstable life situation. Within the box she finds old photos of her father in military uniform and upon further investigation learns that he is a Gulf War Veteran. Amy contacts the Department of Veteran Affairs and with the help of her dad's initially hostile old army buddy, she discovers that her father is homeless and is suffering from Dementia. Amy tries to re-connect with her old man in the hopes of reviving his memory and forming a meaningful father-daughter relationship in the time they have left.

    Although the majority of the back up characters fail to impress in terms of believability in their performances, which along with the shoestring budget and production values hamper the credibility of any mainstream release, both main leads Jenny Leona Di Gennaro and Karl Lentini provide some truly credible acting abilities with their portrayal as daughter and father respectively. Now as this is my first ever professional review I decided after I had referenced what I deemed as "negatives" (I will not be referencing the term "failures") to see what others thought and the one thing I took away from those opinions of this movie was that the arc of the teenage lead did not seem believable. I have to retort to this, as these people have obviously never had to deal with a troubled 18 yr old teenage girl in their lifetime. From personal experience back in the days of my youth I have been a witness to some of the more irrational decisions that can plagued a tormented young female on the verge of adulthood.

    Now even though the thought of sleeping on the streets rather then to go home to face an estranged parent, no matter how warm and safe the bed would feel or how welcome they might be, may seem unbelievable to them, resonated deeply with me, triggered by past events that allowed me not only relate to what was going on but could understand the mentality behind a "troubled young female teenager". And even though he already wrote, produced and directed this little feature Karl Lentini pulled quadruple duty and threw his acting chops into the ring as the long lost father seeking redemption for a situation that was beyond his control. His performance is the stand out in the film, creating a rather surreal and visually impactive take on his character that although the film does have pacing issues, keeps you invested as to see the outcome.

    Along with all of these accomplishments he has also compiled a powerful musical score to accompany this broken families journey, a soundtrack that I feel was more utilized in the final cut could have added a whole new dimension to the finished product. Every time time his music hit, I felt as if I was more emotionally invested with the film in its entirety. But unfortunately it was only used for certain scenes when in fact it could have accompanied about 80% of the background noise and had a much larger effect overall. The other problem I found is that this film could have tackled some real issues head on. As someone with a family history of mental illness I found that "Cleavers Destiny" opened a whole series of questions that it fails to address. Things like the healthcare issue and the treatment of war veterans and their various mental health problems they face upon their return, these issues are touched upon but they are never fully explored in any way upon introduction. And the relative ease of how she finds her father was a little unrealistic, which could have been solved by a simple montage perhaps? I feel this is where the editing problems are quite significant. With tighter execution by cutting five minutes of filler, utilizing the emotional impact of the strong soundtrack to its fullest ability and replacing it with more exposition (the daughter keeping a diary for example) in dealing with the issues that comes with caring for someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dementia, you would have had quite a different product that could have seriously turned some of those more important heads.

    So in conclusion, I find that with "Cleavers Destiny", sharper editing and extra disposition would go a seriously long way. This film feels as if there is something missing, an element that would turn it from an okay debut into a really good one. But there is definite potential with this young up and coming filmmaker and if he finds the right editor, the right performers, a significantly higher budget and concentrates a little more on creating emotionally powerful dialogue that is as strong as the musical score he is capable of delivering, I think the possibilities could be endless.

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