Opioids are an issue in today’s society that causes damage in just about every aspect. They ruin lives by taking away a society’s hope for a better and overall more prosperous future. The film industry has tackled the drug problem in society through films like “Traffic,” “Sicario,” and even titles like “Requiem for a Dream” or “Trainspotting.” Each of those films handled the topic of “drug life” by only hitting a certain aspect. Something like director Nicholas Jarecki’s “Crisis” takes all of these angles and puts them into one meaningful pot. We follow an undercover DEA Agent (Armie Hammer), a mother and recovering Oxycodone addict (Evangeline Lily) who tracks down the truth behind her son’s mysterious death, and a professor (Gary Oldman) who discovers the truth about his employer.

If you think that’s just a little much, I certainly won’t argue with you. What makes it work is Jarecki seamlessly gliding through these three stories with ease. Each plotline carries weight both emotionally and ethically in terms of the questions being raised. I found it quite interesting between the medical industry questions, the trafficking circuit, and general ethics. Getting varying perspectives that aren’t just drug dealers wanting to “get out of the game” was so refreshing to see. That’s in no small part due to the cast assembled to tell these varying stories, which comes together to create something that blends in a thoughtful package.

Oldman, Hammer, and Lily each handle this material’s seriousness like they were the solo stars in the film. Each actor carries honesty in their performance because they truly care about their plots. That helps us as an audience connect with them, which lets us buy into the sillier moments. This is where my problems with the film, unfortunately, boil to the surface. Films like this rely heavily on proclamations to let us as an audience know how the characters feel. For me, that’s something I can sometimes forgive if there are other things the film can offer. Here we get some exhilarating action sequences, but certainly don’t make up for the faults.

Jarecki’s previous film, “Arbitrage” tackled a rather undiscussed issue of hedge fund managers. The dealing with financial corruption was done in a way that generally felt fresh and very educational. In “Crisis” while I can’t say I learned anything I didn’t already know, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained. What’s rather frustrating is you can tell that this story was made with the intent to be more than entertaining. The problem with the “substance” that the film flirts with isn’t as new as it wants to be. We’ve seen in better films that certain ideas have room to be expounded upon. This is what holds the film back from being an award hopeful like it wants to be.

“Crisis” is the film right up in the category of what sorts of films I love. It’s got a great cast and action to lock us in for two hours. I was never bored because our three central stories are so incredibly engaging and exciting to watch. I wish there were more time to expand upon the ideas the film presents to us. We get a highlight reel on the drug epidemic, with shootouts and action to even things out. While I was watching, that was certainly enough, but it left me wanting a bit more once it was over.

Rating: 6.5/10

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