"Thoughtful, Captivating Crime Drama"
What You Need To Know:
The research scientist’s story is superfluous to the other story, but it’s just as engrossing. It also shows that drug companies bear some responsibility for the opioid crisis. CRISIS has a strong moral worldview overall. However, it contains many strong obscenities and profanities and some bloody violence. Also, the main story’s conclusion involves some moral relativism. Despite that, the research scientist ends up doing the right thing and is rewarded. Also, the mother gets some justice. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for CRISIS.
CRISIS is a thoughtful, suspenseful and captivating crime drama about an American woman trying to get justice for her son who was murdered by a Canadian drug lord, who’s simultaneously the target of an opioid sting operation led by an undercover federal agent. CRISIS has lots of foul language, a mixed ending and an unconnected subplot about a research scientist finding something wrong with a new pain medication designed to replace the opioids in the main plot, but the movie holds together surprisingly well and delivers a powerful, provocative, ultimately satisfying warning about the impact that the opioid crisis has on American society and its people.
The movie opens with Canadian officials catching a teenager trying to smuggle dangerous Fentanyl opioid pills into the United States. The teenager is working for a Montreal drug lord who’s trying to do a big drug deal with Jake Kelly, an American man working with Armenian gangsters who’ve been trucking tons of illegal Oxycontin opioids to corrupt doctors across the United States. The Armenians want to branch out into the lucrative Fentanyl business.
Jake turns out to be an undercover DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent trying to bring down both the Montreal drug lord and the Armenians. However, the arrest of the drug lord’s teenage smuggler puts Jake’s whole sting operation in jeopardy. The Montreal drug lord has a beard but goes under the monicker of Mother.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, David, the teenage son of a middle class single mother named Claire, dies of a Fentanyl opioid overdose. The Detroit police label it as just another accidental overdose, but Claire hires a private detective who discovers that David was hit over the head before he took the deadly pills. The detective also sells Claire an illegal pistol. Armed with the pistol, Claire has a friend help her unlock her son’s smartphone, and she starts to investigate two teenage boys who were in contact with David before he died.
Of course, the trail Claire follows not only leads to the Armenian gang. It also leads back to Mother, the Montreal drug lord.
At the same time all this is happening, a research scientist, Tyrone Brower, who teaches at a college, has been hired by a huge pharmaceutical company to study a new, allegedly safe pain medication designed to replace Fentanyl and Oxycontin. However, his lab’s animal research has found that the new drug may be even worse if used for too long a period. The pharmaceutical company and his college’s dean try to bribe Dr. Brower and then implicitly threaten to ruin his reputation and fire him if he reports these findings to federal officials or the press.
Will Dr. Brower stand up for truth and warn the public? Will Jake’s sting operation succeed? Will Claire get justice for her son?
CRISIS is well written and directed, with excellent performances. That said, the research scientist’s story is rather superfluous to the movie’s stories about the federal sting operation and the mother trying to get justice for her son, which eventually are tied together. However, the subplot about the research scientist shows that pharmaceutical companies promoting unsafe pain medications are just as culpable for the deaths of many people as the drug traffickers and drug lords who illegally smuggle such drugs. Also, the story about the research scientist is just as engrossing as the other two stories that overtly intersect one another. So, it doesn’t take away from them.
CRISIS has a strong moral, anti-drug message. It also has a positive attitude toward drug enforcement officials, who risk their lives to stop the opioid scourge that kills more than 100,000 people worldwide every year. Fentanyl reportedly was also involved in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which set off a national year-long conflagration because of police involvement. Drug enforcement agents face a ruthless, clever, wealthy enemy who will stop at nothing to sell poison to susceptible, vulnerable citizens, including children. This movie shows viewers just how difficult and dangerous their job can be.
Regrettably, CRISIS has many strong obscenities and profanities. There’s also some moral relativism involved in the main story’s conclusion. Despite that, the movie encourages the research scientist to do the right thing, which he ends up doing. In fact, he’s eventually rewarded for doing the right thing. CRISIS also shows the mother getting some justice for her son’s murder. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for this suspenseful, ultimately satisfying crime drama.