Lillian (Melissa Leo) is an actress with an illustrious career on the stage, but it feels like she never really got her time in the spotlight. Her son, Curtis (Jake Weary) has nurtured a talent for music however, and over the years his music career has managed to bring him the kind of wealth and fame that his mother could only dream of having.
Then one day tragedy strikes and Lillian is informed that her son has died of a drug overdose. However, knowing that he’s had a past of substance abuse, Lillian is sure that Curtis would never have put himself in that kind of danger. So, Lillian does what every good mother would do and tries to track down the people responsible for her son’s death.
Measure of Revenge (or Leave not One Alive in the UK) is a thriller from the perspective of a parent, the kind of which many people may have seen before. Movies such as Man on Fire and Taken immediately come to mind when reading the synopsis, however Measure of Revenge also deals with the grief that a mother feels when she loses a child.
Although that doesn’t last too long as her plan for revenge takes her down a dark path.
Tonally, Measure of Revenge is a curious movie. It starts out fairly ordinary and follows Lillian as she tries to come to terms with the death of her son whilst also looking for answers. However, it’s not long before the more unusual elements of the movie begin where Lillian is haunted by the evil parts that she has played on stage and she draws out her plan for murder.
This unfortunately leads to a few moments of unintentional comedy, which in fact would have been better if it didn’t take itself so seriously.
Measure of Revenge wants to be a thoughtful drama about the grief process, but it also wants to be a violent and preposterous revenge thriller. Unfortunately, it cannot do both. Reminiscent of Hammer Horror classic Theater of Blood, Measure of Revenge will make you smile, but for all the wrong reasons.
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