A by the numbers piece on the plague of addictive big pharma and the crisis of our time - Oxy addiction.
Crisis follows three interweaving stories about the opioid addiction crisis in the USA. Dr. Tyrone Bower (Gary Oldman) is a university researcher who discovers an issue with a new drug his pharmaceutical company funding partner is bringing to market. As he battles with their attempts to suppress his research, he has to reckon with the harm their addictive drugs, meant to replace oxycotin, could do. Meanwhile, Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) is coping with the loss of her son to an oxy overdose. But he had never taken drugs before, and the police seem too keen to sweep it under the rug as an OD. Claire follows the clues all the way back to the head of a Canadian crime syndicate, called Mother. She isn’t the only one tracking Mother though - DEA agent Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) is undercover, looking to bust him for a big shipment of fentanyl.
Directed by Nicholas Jarecki, Crisis is a cautionary tale that attacks the opioid crisis from a number of angles. While this enables a general curiosity with the piece, as we try and work out how all of these storylines will interact, it also tests the boundaries of believability. In particular, Evangeline Lilly’s character’s arc is truly insane, bringing this mother of an unfortunate teen into contact with the biggest drug dealer in Canada, a DEA investigation, and more, all enabled by an architect hacking a phone passcode somehow.
Gary Oldman’s arc is also fairly standard, chronicling a professor who is duelling between moral obligation and the easy, financially secure route. Oldman gives his character both a strong moral backbone, and also a despicable, contemptible nature that makes him not so clear cut a hero. It’s an admirable take on that sort of role, that lines itself up in contrast to Evangeline Lilly’s character who is largely unimpeachable.
Armie Hammer is undoubtedly the standout of this piece, and his DEA agent forms the bulk of the interesting plot of the film. His arc brings the action, and is much more engaging than the other two. Again, it isn’t particularly remarkable or unique plotting, but compared to the other two arcs it is undoubtedly the most interesting.
The performances are uniformly good, but not outstanding. The visuals too are engaging without being remarkable. The issue with the entire piece, however, is that this film doesn’t set itself apart from the crowd. It isn’t must-see cinema. It’s good, but not great. In the end, this is a movie that you’ll enjoy in the cinema, and forget about immediately after.
Crisis is fine - but unremarkable.