Every Breath You Take will no doubt make a lot of people think about what they might do in a situation such as this since the idea of a patient’s brother seeking revenge on her psychiatrist isn’t something that typically makes the headlines in the real world. But when the patient of a successful psychiatrist, played by Casey Affleck, kills herself, her brother is obviously devastated. Perhaps thinking that it would benefit the brother, the psychiatrist introduces the brother, played by Sam Claflin, to his wife and daughter. Unfortunately, the brother apparently sees this as an opportunity to punish the psychiatrist, who he no doubt blames for his sister’s death, by seducing his wife and daughter while seeking to discredit Affleck’s character and tearing his life apart in the process. Again, the question is left as to what a person would in such a situation since there are plenty of people that might react out of pure anger and malice if anyone attempted to harm or otherwise sway their family away from them. But it would appear from the trailer that Affleck doesn’t really handle the situation as well as one might think, which ends up playing into the hands of Claflin and thereby makes things a whole lot worse. The thing about revenge plots is that one way or another, they get messy either physically or psychologically at some point, and the fallout is bound to make for great drama and a story that people will want to see since that’s the whole point of Hollywood. Does it disturb anyone else that we happen to thrive on misery and drama just as much as success and happiness?
Stories such as this tend to test the moral fiber of the characters on the screen and the audience since some people might sympathize with Affleck’s character while others might admonish him for not being the type of person that can diffuse a situation as is needed. The trick with such a belief though is that some people aren’t into listening or being reasonable, especially after losing a loved one. Claflin’s character is obviously someone that’s striking back out of anger, but he’s also proving to be more than a little devious in how he goes about seducing Affleck’s wife and daughter, which means he knows what he’s doing and has little to no excuse other than feeling that the man with such a nice family and life needs to be taught what it’s like to lose someone and something precious. Here’s where rooting for the bad guy becomes a problem since it helps to promote the idea that getting even with people for a perceived wrong isn’t enough, and that taking things to a degree that will not only be damaging to those involved, it won’t even exist in the same realm as fair.
The fact that he thinks of how to truly hurt the psychiatrist by calling the cops on him as well is evidence of a level of intellect and rational thinking that is tainted by a vindictive and very cruel nature, meaning that there’s really no excuse for Claflin’s character at that point, save the idea that he’s still grieving and lashing out. But even the act of lashing out has its limits and several healthier alternatives, since destroying the lives of others that had little to nothing to do with the death of a loved one isn’t justice, it’s undeserved payback. But without knowing any more of the story at this point it’s very fair to say that until we know more about Affleck’s character that the story appears to be another tale of a grieving family member that thinks to take their own level of justice from another person when the law won’t help them out. In some cases, people cheer for this and can’t help but empathize with the killer, but in others, such as this movie, it’s easier to condemn them from the start. A lot of this has to do with the perception that’s given, since if one watches a movie such as Death Wish they’ll root for Charles Bronson since his family was taken from him and he’s tired of seeing the law do nothing to the perpetrators. In this movie though it does feel as though some people might feel for Claflin’s character, while others might want to support Affleck’s side even if he proves to be a slightly less than attentive husband and father.
Movies like this do bring up a big lesson in morality and a lot of cues that people might or might not pay attention to. Due in April, Every Breath You Take is a psychological thriller that’s bound to be one of the many movies that people might decide is worth talking about. If not, then it’s worth watching at least.