Crisis Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Traffic” / Crisis

Genre crime thriller
Directed by Nicholas Jarecki
Cast: Gary Oldman (Tyrone Brower), Armie Hammer (Jake Kelly), Luke Evans (Bill Simons), Evangeline Lilly (Claire), Guy Nadon (Mother), Greg Kinnear (Jeff), Michelle Rodriguez (Garett), Lily -Rose Depp (Emmy), Indira Varma (Madira), Martin Donovan (Laurence), Veronica Ferres (Meg) and others.
Студии Les Productions LOD, Bideford Productions, Burn Later Productions
Release year 2021
Site IMDb

The script of the tape Crisis refers to the situation with the massive use of drugs – it is called the opioid crisis in the United States. The problem dates back to the 1990s, when doctors started prescribing supposedly harmless painkillers to patients, which turned out to be highly addictive. Pharmaceutical companies were behind this, hiding the side effects, paying doctors to prescribe the drug, and ignoring the statistics, according to which some clients switched to stronger drugs over time. The most notorious company was Purdue Pharma, founded by the Sackler family, which produced the painkiller OxyContin.

The film is built around three storylines that are related to opioid trafficking. One line shows an undercover cop (Armie Hammer) who sees the consequences of his sister’s drug addiction, so he is especially eager to expose the work of the Canadian cartel, posing as a buyer of a large shipment of goods. The second line introduces a woman who once sat on opioid painkillers (Evangeline Lilly), forced to investigate the death of her son. And the third line shows a professor (Gary Oldman) discovering that a new innovative drug from a leading pharmaceutical company that is about to hit the market is even worse addictive than OxyContin.


Director Nicholas Jarecki (who is also a screenwriter and producer) draws a parallel with the real Sackler family, showing a pharmaceutical corporation invented by him, which, like the Sacklers, is trying to falsify the results of research on the effects of painkillers and whiten its reputation by engaging in philanthropic donations. The company is represented by powerful executives (one of them is played by Luke Evans), who, in fact, organize the legal drug trade.


All three storylines develop separately, each with a different pace and motive, but they all ultimately come to a single goal – to fight the spread of opioids, where each character feels powerless in the scale of this problem. It is noteworthy that in the plot of the thriller, the central characters are too far from each other, but the paths of the two heroes will cross at the most unexpected and, in their own way, desperate moment.


Naturally, the Crisis picture first of all attracts with its cast, and it keeps a decent level. Gary Oldman makes a persuasive professor who oscillates between conscience and profit for his scientific work; Armie Hammer is confidently getting used to the role of a man who plays a double game and switches between aggression and care; Evangeline Lilly conveys parental anxiety, which is replaced by an insistent and sometimes reckless desire for retribution.


The tension of the film can sag a little at times, but thanks to the fact that the plot constantly switches from one character to another, there is no dreary slowness in the picture. The story gradually draws in, especially considering how the film draws parallels with the real opioid crisis (in the finale, the creators show the death statistics in the United States).

With all this, the film Crisis received quite a lot of negative reviews. This is partly due to the fact that Armie Hammer is unlikely to receive any praise right now (the actor was accused of a number of personal charges, because of which the Hollywood agency WME terminated his contract). And also with the fact that the script of Nicholas Jarecki reminds Steven Soderbergh’s crime drama “Traffic” (in the Ukrainian box office Jarecki’s film received the same name, which can cause some confusion) – it also had several storylines dedicated to the distribution of drugs.


There are indeed similarities, but more than 20 years have passed since the release of the Soderbergh film, in addition, the picture of Nicolas Jarecki takes a guide to deceptive pharmaceuticals, which gives the story a slightly different direction. And in general, the film Crisis is interesting in every storyline, where recognizable actors appear in secondary roles, and the denouement is gaining intriguing momentum just in time.

Pros: cast; several separate storylines running side by side; visual explanation of what an opioid crisis is Cons: at times the tension of the film sags a little Conclusion:

a good crime thriller that really resembles the famous Soderbergh film. However, the new film has its own original story with the machinations of a pharmaceutical company, which echoes the realities of the United States.

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