(director/writer: Nicholas Jarecki; cinematographer: Nicolas Bolduc; editor: Duff Smith; music: Raphael Reed; cast: Gary Oldman (Dr. Tyrone Brower), Armie Hammer (Jake Kelly), Evangeline Lilly (Claire Reimann), Greg Kinnear, (Dean Talbot), Michelle Rodriguez (Supervisor Garrett), Luke Evans (Dr. Bill Simons), Lily-Rose Depp (Emmie Kelly), Kid Cudi (Ben Walker), Guy Nadon (Mother), Veronica Ferres (Dr. Meg Holmes), Martin Donovan (Lawrence Morgan), Mia Kirshner (Susan), Michael Aronov (Minas), Indira Varma (Madira Brower), Nicholas Jarecki (Stanley Foster); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Cassian Elwes, Nicholas Jarecki; Quiver release; 2021)
“Though it has the facts to strongly make its case, what it falls short on is making it entertaining.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Another film about institutional corruption by Nicholas Jarecki (“Arbitrage”/”The Outsider”). It focuses on the opioid crisis as causing alarm as it has become a rising national-health issue throughout the country. With its three ways to look at things, the Crisis gets a similar look on the pain-killer epidemic raging in the country as Soderbergh’s Traffic (2000) took on its war on drugs film. Crisis is based on real-life events. Though it has the facts to strongly make its case, what it falls short on is making it entertaining and becomes overloaded with too many crime thriller cliches.
The three interconnecting stories, each with enough material to stand on their own, includes these three tales— (1-) a grieving and emotional mama with a grudge (Evangeline Lilly), who must deal with a number of scary life situations; (2-) a tough-guy undercover DEA operative from Detroit with an imminent bust (Armie Hammer) but unable to admit he’s losing control of the situation; and (3-) The film’s star performer, Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman), as a feisty compromised research professor at odds with corporate malfeasance and with a conscience as he tries to be ethical by becoming a whistle-blower over a new product he claims is addictive and not non-addictive as the ‘big money’ company claims. The stories interlock in an awkward melodramatic way, giving it an incredulous look despite its truth telling.
Though the supporting cast is solid and the dialogue is snappy, the in your face storytelling is too smothering and the thriller’s lead characters never are fully developed. It was on the money going after Big Pharma, but the trouble is it’s a weak film that left me not feeling the great contempt I should have felt for them.
Of note, Armie Hammer has recently made the news for his bizarre messages on social media and other more serious scary troubling behavior.
REVIEWED ON 3/18/2021 GRADE: C+