Combustible Celluloid
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With: Melissa Leo, Bella Thorne, Michael Potts, Jake Weary, Kevin Corrigan, Benedict Samuel, Adrian Martinez, Ivan Martin, Roma Maffia
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Peyfa
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/18/2022

Measure of Revenge (2022)

1 Star (out of 4)

Doesn't Have a Player

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This flat, lifeless thriller could have been worthwhile if it had actually used its theatrical themes to add some twisty layers, or if its exploration of the concept of revenge hadn't been so generic.

Celebrated actor Lillian Cooper (Melissa Leo) is happy to have her son, rock star Curtis (Jake Weary), home from rehab, and even happier to learn that Curtis is planning to marry his girlfriend, Olivia (Jasmine Carmichael), who is pregnant. Unfortunately, Curtis and Olivia turn up dead, and it appears they have overdosed on a deadly drug called P.M.A. Lillian, however, suspects foul play, and attempts to seek vengeance on those responsible.

Her first stop is a photographer/drug dealer called "Taz" (Bella Thorne) who once took pictures of the band. Once she learns the identity of her targets, she needs an alibi, so she stages a production of Hamlet, and casts herself as Hamlet's mother, giving herself a small window of time every night to get her revenge.

Measure of Revenge is so bad that not even Oscar-winner Melissa Leo can't even make her character Lillian Cooper seem like an actor. With so many plum roles on resume, you'd think Lillian would be a little more savvy, like All About Eve's Margot Channing, but she comes across skittish and naïve. The movie occasionally slips in "ghosts" of Cooper's past characters, offering advice to her, but these seem almost at random, as not all of the lines or characters are identifiable, and some of them are certainly not from classic plays.

If the movie had used her theatrical knowledge to find and punish the culprits, the movie might have been fun, but instead it's a dead-serious, by-the-numbers account. Cooper believes that she has the right to kill everyone who killed her son, and there are no gray areas; the movie seems to believe it, too.

Measure of Revenge is likewise somewhat clueless about the way the world works, and depictions of the music business, the photography business, and the theater business all feel awkward and inauthentic. All of this adds up to a movie that completely lacks in nuance as well as in a driving force. It's dull and inert, and — weirdly — lacking a credit for a screenwriter. Perhaps whoever wrote it took "measure" of the situation and jumped ship.

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