Review of: Symptoms of Betrayal(7/09) 

reviewed by stevles on 07/28/2009
Credited Review
Symptoms of Betrayal is a valiant attempt at putting together, via flashback, the reasons behind a school shooting. Pulling it off, however, proves to be too difficult, at least for this go-round, and the end, though revealing, is too abrupt, leaving this reader confused and unfulfilled. How to make it better?
Reduce/consolidate the number of flashbacks. I understand the need to give the viewer everyone's back-story and perspective leading up to the shootings, but I think the number of cuts and scene changes will overwhelm, not enhance, the story-telling. Another problem - Cody's mom and dad are not shaken up enough over the death of their son. One week later and they're both back at work? And Mrs. Williams... it's one thing to characterize/present her as a cold fish, but her iciness, as portrayed here, is just too unbelievable, even laughable... something I'm sure was not intended. The kids, on the other hand, are nicely developed, each with his/her own unique obnoxious characteristics; however, like their adult counterparts, some of their actions and decisions are not to be believed. The bathroom sex, the marriage proposal, wanting the baby, etc. And then there's Cody's death, at the hands of his father... and Dan's cover-up. What, exactly, is that all about? Did Williams see a gun? If he did, will that make him feel better about killing Cody? Will it somehow exonerate him? Finally, the last act should end where it all began, not at the place where Todd gets his reason for shooting the unlucky trio.
A re-write, done smartly, with more character depth, and realistic character behavior, could really work here. The writer tells his story with a quick-paced, no nonsense style, a real plus for anyone hoping to be "read."

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