The opioid epidemic drives three separate storylines cross paths in director Nicholas Jarecki's, Crisis from Quiver Distribution. A taut and alluring thriller, the tension-filled CRISIS puts a human face on the epidemic, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide and continues to rage out of control. Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman), a university professor, battles unexpected revelations about his research employer. This major pharmaceutical company is bringing a new "non-addictive" painkiller to market.
Meanwhile, Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) is an undercover DEA agent who attempts to infiltrate an international Fentanyl smuggling operation while trying to save his drug addict sister. Finally, Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) is an architect recovering from an oxycodone addiction who tracks down the truth behind her son's involvement with narcotics. Their worlds combine to illuminate the landscape of an international health crisis touching every corner of society is a story of professional integrity, moral ambiguity, and love and revenge.
Nicholas Jarecki makes a return to directing following his debut with Arbitrage nine years ago. Heavily influenced by the 2001 Academy Award-winning film Traffic, Crisis moves along pretty quickly, so much so that I had to figure out how to properly review the film. I came to the conclusion the best angle was to individually rank the storylines.
Jake's story was the one I found myself the most invested in since it involves the most action. Personal issues aside, Armie Hammer commands the screen in his role as the DEA agent. Displaying athleticism and just amount of taking no prisoners bravado, the part of Jake could've pushed Hammer into action roles. Hammer's storyline's only weak link was Michelle Rodriguez as his boss in a prominent stunt casting role.
Evangeline Lilly's story was my second favorite as I found her story of a determined mother seeking justice for her son relatable since I'm a parent. In the role of Clarrie, Lilly gets to strip away from the glamour and glitz we know her for and show some dramatic range. The film's script doesn't delve too deep into Clarrie's past drug use other than a short line that was refreshing. Nicholas Jarecki could've quickly taken the route where Clarrie's son gets hooked on drugs from seeing his mom do drugs. Instead, the angle he uses is more organic.
To my surprise, the weakest story was Gary Oldman's whistleblower story. Oldman is one of the best actors working today and can do a role like Tyrone in his sleep. Despite vital supporting roles from Greg Kinnear, Kid Cudi, and Luke Evans, there was just something missing from his story for me. Furthermore, while the characters portrayed by Evangeline Lilly and Armie Hammer end up crossing paths, they have no contact with Oldman's character. Thus it appears that Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman) is an entirely different movie. A simple dialogue line such as "I took Brower's class" from either Evangeline Lilly or Armie Hammer could've fixed the issue.
Perhaps the more substantial route to go was to give Oldman his own film and have Crisis focus solely on the other two characters. Despite my misgivings with Oldman's story's narrative structure, I will recommend Crisis for the cast fans. Nicholas Jarecki is a talented filmmaker, and hopefully, we don't have to wait almost a decade for his third film.
Final Grade C+
Crisis is showing limited theaters now followed by a home entertainment release on March 5, 2021