CRISIS is about the the opioid epidemic in the United States. It’s a public health crisis, destroying countless lives and communities. In 2017, opioid overdoses were estimated to kill approximately 130 Americans each day. At least 47,600 people died in 2017 alone.
Drug addiction is an ambitious subject for any film to explore. And considering CRISIS follows three different storylines, and explores three different opioid drugs – one of them entirely fictional – it’s also a bloody ambitious way to tell it.
But this bold decision makes sense. The opioid epidemic is huge and complicated, but it’s also incredibly personal. There’s no single story to tell, no ‘typical’ addict. So instead we see the epidemic through the eyes of three different people: a cop, a recovering addict, and a drug researcher.
First: the cop. Jake Kelly (played by Armie Hammer) is working undercover. He’s trying to take down a multinational drug smuggling operation. And he’s *this* close to getting the evidence he needs. He’s got anger issues. He takes risks. And he gets things done. But the pen pushers at work don’t have his back. They want to shut down the investigation. They’ve given him two weeks. You know the drill. Lots of guns and explosions. It’s a good time.
Taking things in a less violent direction, there’s Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly). She’s a recovering addict. Oxycodone is her drug of choice. She’s a single mum, with a very sweet teenage son. He’s the main reason she’s staying drug-free. But when the kid goes missing, her recovery is put into serious jeopardy. An occasionally shaky tale of love, loss, and revenge.
But my favourite story is about Doctor Tyrone Brower. He’s played by veteran actor Gary Oldman, who hits it out of the park. Dr Brower is the head of a drug research lab at a university. He has always believed in the goodness of his employers. That all comes to an end when he discovers a ‘non-addictive’ opioid – that is about to go to human trials – is actually super addictive. Will he break his silence and alert people to the danger, or will the pharmaceutical company come for his head first?
CRISIS struck a good balance between being quite entertaining, as well as educational, without being preachy. But at the same time, it felt like maybe it bit off more than it could chew? I think they had three excellent stories, but it’s hard to explore so many ideas in a single film.
Nonetheless, it’s a really enjoyable film, with something to suit absolutely everyone. Whether you’re looking for action, drama, or a corporate thriller, CRISIS offers all three.