Crisis

Three interconnected stories:

A successful architect and single mother (Evangeline Lilly) recovering from her own opioid addiction investigates her teenage son’s mysterious death.

A professor (Gary Oldman) grapples with a pharmaceutical company when his lab’s results conflict with their claims of a “non-addictive” pain killer.

An undercover agent (Armie Hammer) posing as a drug trafficker arranges a really big buy/sting of fentanyl between the American and Canadian border.

The crisis in questions is of course opioids and we definitely need to be looking at it from all angles with a very critical eye. I’m just not sure Crisis is the movie to do it. It acknowledges many of the problems (which can be boiled down to: money corrupts, and opioids are worth a LOT of money to a LOT of people), but because this isn’t gonzo journalism but a thriller, it attempts to solve these problems with guns.

Crisis may occasionally be entertaining as a dramatic thriller, but since we’re very familiar with the topic, we’re also very familiar with its consequences, meaning there aren’t a lot of actual thrills to be had, the endings are predictable and some might say inevitable. Writer-director Nicholas Jarecki doesn’t have a lot of flash or distinguishing personal style, so the vignettes must speak for themselves. Unfortunately, it’s a little too much story for just the one movies, which ends up feeling chaotic and lacking focus. It’s hard to pick out the good guys, and Big Pharma as the baddie is both too big and too vague to really root against. You know it always wins. But neither the villain nor the heroes, if there are any, give us the kind of emotional connection we need in a movie like this, a movie that’s attempting to be more than just your standard shoot-em up thriller. We needed deeper connections, a more probing eye, a reason to rally. Crisis ends up not really living up to its own name.

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