Crisis is a dramatic thriller that addresses the opioid epidemic from multiple points of view. A star-studded supporting cast weaves together three distinct stories at a climactic juncture. Writer / director Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitration) illustrates the root causes of opioid addiction from corporate production and criminal trafficking to deadly outcomes on city streets. The individual chapters are well interpreted and serious. But the movie falls short of a predictable third act that gets artificial and self-righteous.
Crisis takes place in Detroit, Michigan, and across the Canadian border in Montreal. We are introduced to Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) at an opioid support meeting. A divorced architect with a teenage son (Billy Bryk), Claire is a recovering oxycodone addict. Armie Hammer co-stars as DEA agent Jake Kelly, he’s been undercover for a year infiltrating a killer fentanyl ring. Rounding out the main cast is Dr. Tyrone Bower (old gary), a university professor who has been researching a revolutionary new pharmaceutical pain reliever.
Claire returns home from work to find her missing son. Unable to get any real traction from the police, he decides to contact his friends. Dr. Bower and his graduate assistants discover that the supposedly non-addictive new miracle drug is as deadly as its predecessors. Informs his department head (Greg Kinnear) and the drug maker’s corporate liaison (Luke Evans) of the findings; who then tries to discredit him. Meanwhile, personal problems and an unexpected wrinkle disrupt Jake Kelly’s massive drug deal. As Dr. Bower, Claire, and Jake struggle to find answers, their paths are inexorably destined to collide.
Crisis sets up a real intrigue in the first act. The devastation of opioids is presented with unadorned ugliness. Nicholas Jarecki illustrates the link between addicts and pill mills and the entities that profit from addiction. The drug cartels are on an equal footing with the corporate producers. Dead bodies and heartbroken families have no impact on the bottom line. Profit has zero consciousness. The three main characters learn that difficult lesson while their lives are destroyed.
Crisis loses focus when trying to join the threads. Initially a good exhibition falls apart with absurd ingenuity. The film uses random luck and timely coincidences to bring the characters together. A critical scene, where two protagonists meet for the first time, is completely incredible. It’s an easy way out of complicated setup. Nicholas Jarecki does this to make a declarative statement about opioids and what dark extremes good people lead to. That point of view is very clear from the beginning. Jarecki needed a better written resolution. The ending feels obvious and preaching.
Evangeline lilly Y Armie hammer they are very good here. His character arcs have the dramatic depth that shows the personal cost of opioid addiction. The film gives the same time for the helicopter perspective of the epidemic, but it’s the ground-level stories that resonate. Each overdose and each criminal act leaves a trail of despair for those who pick up the pieces. Crisis will be compared to Steven Soderbergh Traffic. It’s nowhere near that league, but it paints a vivid picture of the human cost. Hence, earning a “watch” recommendation. Crisis It is produced by a consortium led by Les Productions LOD and Bideford Productions. It will be released in theaters on February 26 by Quiver Distribution, and then on home video a week later on March 5.
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