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Cinematic Releases: Crisis (2021) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1175 days ago on Entertainment - The fates haven’t been particularly kind or fair to Nicholas Jarecki’s ensemble opioid epidemic drama Crisis.  Shot in early 2019 in Detroit and Montreal, the film was delayed for a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic followed by a still developing scandal involving one of the film’s principal actors.  That’s a real shame because at the end of the day, Jarecki’s film is a quite good offering in the drug war subgenre of films as well as prominently featuring yet another stellar performance from the gifted actor Gary Oldman.  The film isn’t quite up to par with Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic but finds its own footing in the genre anyhow. Concerning three interlocking stories, Crisis follows a drug trafficker/federal agent named Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) who arranges a cartel spanning Fentanyl operating, a recovering addict named Claire (Evangeline Lilly) on a desperate search for her missing son and college university professor Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman) who is caught between holding his job and blowing the whistle on his big pharma employer.  Much like Traffic, the film cuts freely between all three stories whose characters sometimes cross paths but ultimately remain separate yet thematically linked.   Sporting numerous supporting performances from Greg Kinnear, Michelle Rodriguez and Lily-Rose Depp, this expansive ensemble film from the director of Arbitrage shot in widescreen by Nicolas Bolduc is at once gritty and slick.  That it takes place in the winter only adds to the chilly yet compelling outlook it has on the opioid war’s battlefield.  The electronic soundtrack also creates a quiet sense of menace lurking.  Performances by Hammer and Lilly in their respective roles are fine but the real star of this piece is Gary Oldman who breathes so much life into his role you can’t help but rally behind him.  Yes the plot elements of the professor’s thread echo that of The Insider but Oldman sells it so well we aren’t bothered by the similarities. A good film that’s shaping up to be an unfortunate victim of the Armie Hammer scandal, Crisis doesn’t really tell viewers anything we don’t already know about the unwinnable war but it has some good filmmaking and performances that make it all worthwhile.  Oldman is that kind of actor who can hoist up any production he’s in and make the characters being portrayed his own.  Whether or not this film gets a fair release remains to be seen but for what it is worth Crisis is a good drug war movie that will keep you engaged with the film’s portrayal of the inner workings and machinations fueling the opioid epidemic.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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