CRISIS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Today, when you say the word epidemic, you automatically think Covid-19. The pandemic has changed the world as we knew it. It also pushed out of the headlines the other epidemic still plaguing us; I am talking about the opioid epidemic. Crisis is the second feature film from writer/director Nicholas Jarecki following his critically acclaimed 2012 film Arbitrage. This daring filmmaker has set his talents on an uncompromising look at the opioid epidemic, using three parallel fictional stories inspired by real-life events to paint this picture.
The film follows the stories of three people impacted by opioids. First is a university professor Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman), who battles unexpected revelations about his research employer. A major pharmaceutical company bringing a new “non-addictive” painkiller to market. Next is undercover DEA agent Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer). Posing as a drug trafficker arranging a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation to take down two big cartels. All the while, dealing with the fall-out of life with his addicted little sister. Then there’s an architect named Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) recovering from oxycodone addiction. She tracks down the truth behind her son’s overdose. He was a good kid and never did drugs, so his death doesn’t make sense. Set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic, their stories form a dramatic thriller that will have you rooting for the good guys to win.
Crisis is not a flashy film about drugs such as 1983’s Scarface or 2000’s Traffic. It may get panned for that reason by some. Instead, it’s a well-paced film that puts a human face on this drug epidemic. The director keeps the momentum slowly pitching forward till the surprising end. The cinematography supports this nuanced approach. Shot by Nicolas Bolduc, the film is muted and gritty while maintaining coherence between the three storylines. The strong ensemble acting of the three leads is expected and delivered by this caliber of actors. Having bigger names such as Greg Kinnear, Michelle Rodriguez, and Mia Kirshner in tiny parts adds gravitas to this tension-filled drama.
I give Crisis a 4-star rating. It does a good job bringing the focus back to this drug epidemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Written by: Nicholas Jarecki
Selig Rating: 4 Stars
Running Time: 1hr 58min
Drama / Thriller
Limited Release: All Local Cinemark theaters / Northeast Mall 18 February 26th and VOD March 5th
Starring: Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer, Evangeline Lilly, Greg Kinnear, Michelle Rodriguez, Mia Kirshner
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.