Crisis is a thriller about the opioid addiction epidemic that has gripped the United States. Directed by Nicholas Jarecki, it follows three characters’ stories, with Armie Hammer, Evangeline Lilly and Gary Oldman in the lead roles.
In the first story Gary Oldman plays Doctor Tyrone Brewer, an academic running tests on a new, theoretically non-addictive painkiller. When he discovers it’s not all it’s meant to be, he runs into corruption that goes all the way through the system. In the second story, officer Jake Kelly (Hammer) is an agent in deep cover trying to bring down two drug-smuggling gangs in a fragile cross-border operation. In the third, architect Claire Reimann (Lilly) is trying to discover what happened to her son.
Crisis is a type of film that has been done before, where intersecting stories are used to depict a sociopolitical malaise – think Traffic, or Syriana or similar. Sadly, it’s been done better. The primary problem here is the dialogue, which sounds like the actors were supposed to ad-lib but read the summaries instead. None of it sounds like something a human being would actually say. This is sad, because the performances and general cinematic technique on show are actually quite good. Hammer in particular really throws himself into the role and Lilly plays her character with convincing emotion. It’s also sad because the subject matter is genuinely interesting and, instead of portraying an industry with problems, it makes the executives moustache-twirling villains.
Crisis is a decent but flawed film. Its inexpert use of the multiple-storyline technique covers some interesting material and the jumping around disrupts the pacing of the more compelling plots. it’s definitely worth a look, and might at least spur you to read more about the opioid problem.
In Cinemas March 18