‘Crisis’ Review: All-Star Cast Can’t Elevate Stale Opioid Drama
It’s something of a rule that if something really, really bad happens in a really, really visible way, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a film. In many ways it’s surprising that it took so long for a movie to get made about America’s struggle with opioids, a struggle that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and it’s disappointing that the film in question had to be Crisis.
Director Nicholas Jarecki, who seems to be carving out a niche for himself in the “serviceable corporate thriller” genre, seeks to show all sides of how opioids impact people. We watch Gary Oldman‘s washed out biology professor who can’t decide if he wants to publish the damning results of a study on addiction, Armie Hammer‘s .5 dimensional DEA agent work to bust a combined Armenian-Quéqbécois (?) drug ring, and Evangeline Lilly‘s stereotypically bereaved mother looking to find answers relating to the death of her son.
Anyone who’s seen Traffic or Syriana (Jarecki sure has) will not be surprised to learn that these stories all intersect and weave together, with the awkward exception of Oldman’s. The vision of Crisis as an attempt to paint a panoramic view of the drug’s impact is laudable, but the result is stale. The viewer gets no new insight into the nature of addiction, no moral question to ponder, and no character deeper than a sandbox to engage with.
The fact that the cast is populated with talent like Greg Kinnear, Luke Evans, Lily Rose-Depp and Kid Cudi makes this fact all the more dispiriting. Crisis may serve as an entertaining primer on the impact of opioids for some, but this is a movie whose thematic ambitions have been done already and with much more compelling results.