CRISIS (2021)

"Thoughtful, Captivating Crime Drama"

Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.

What You Need To Know:

CRISIS is a suspenseful, satisfying crime drama. Claire is an architect and recovering opioid addict investigating her son’s allegedly accidental overdose. The police aren’t helpful. So, she hires a private investigator, who discovers her son was knocked out and probably force-fed the drugs. The son’s cellphone leads Claire to three teenagers smuggling drugs for a Montreal drug lord. The drug lord is the target of a United States sting operation led by an undercover agent. Meanwhile, a research scientist finds something wrong with a new, allegedly safe pain medication designed to replace opioids. If he exposes the truth, he could lose everything.

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.


(BB, Ab, Ho, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, DD, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral, anti-drug worldview about the opioid epidemic in America and Canada about a woman in Detroit whose teenage son was murdered by a Montreal drug lord who’s simultaneously under a DEA-led sting operation while a college research scientist and his lab find out that a new drug meant to be less addictive than Oxycontin or Fentanyl may be almost as addictive if not more when used over time than those two drugs, and the drug company and his university try to suppress his research, especially when he tries to blow the whistle with the Federal Drug Administration, plus federal drug agents are viewed as positive and are trying to do the right thing though they have a difficult job making a case, but one DEA agent covers up murder of drug lord who’s about to get away (the agent doesn’t shoot him, but he has to shoot the man’s guard who’s about to shoot a civilian), so there’s some light moral relativism at the end

Foul Language:
58 obscenities (many “f” words), six strong profanities (two GDs and four Jesus profanities, and one light profanity

Very strong violence with blood in one scene when a DEA agent is shot in neck and dies soon thereafter while lying on ground, and when a man is shot dead point blank in forehead as some blood hits bystander in face, plus some strong violence includes two shootouts where several people are hit with bullets, and three or more people are wounded by gunfire, woman with gun threatens teenage drug dealer to tell her why the drug gang killed her son, man found shot dead in restroom of hotel room, undercover DEA agent forcibly prevents woman from going into bar where drug lord does his business, DEA agent drags his sister out of a drug house and handcuffs her to take her home and then handcuffs her to make her stay in her old room to dry out under her mother’s care, addicted woman shoots up heroin or another opioid, and it’s implied she’s killing herself with it because she’s given up trying to fight her addiction, and woman whose son died considers suicide by pills but decides against it

Upper male nudity in images of a corpse

Alcohol Use:
Some alcohol use and brief mention about drinking too much in the past after a divorce

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No tobacco smoking but movie is about overdoses from illegal drug sales and abuse of OPIOIDS, including Oxycontin and fentanyl, and DEA running a sting operation on a supplier in Montreal, who orders some assassinations of lower level people, including an innocent American teenager duped by three of the drug lord’s teenage couriers; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Woman gets revenge, [SPOILER] DEA agent covers up the righteous killing by a victim of a murderous drug lord and his right-hand man (the man was shot to death as he tried to defend his boss, so he was shot dead in self-defense) as they try to escape, to make it look like they shot each other over money, and university officials and federal government officials collude with big pharmaceutical company to hide studies showing their new pain medication is just as unsafe of not more so than current controversial pain medications that are opioids.

More Detail:

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.