Before most had heard of Covid-19 the biggest scourge on the planet was drugs. Or more specifically the opiate crisis going on. Many thousands world wide were dying of overdoses from their opiate addiction or because it was being cut with the powerful fentanyl. Writer/director Spencer Folmar (Generational Sins) tackles this issue head on in Shooting Heroin.
Like many communities around the United States a small town in Pennsylvania has come into the clutches of drugs, or more specifically heroin. It has seen its share of young people die from overdoses. No matter that Hazel (Sherilyn Fenn – from television’s Twin Peaks), a mother who lost two sons to the drug, comes to the local high school to talk to them about the dangers people keep dying.
War veteran and new father Adam (Alan Powell – from television’s Quantico) decides finally that enough is enough after his own sister dies from an overdose. Spurred on by his own pain and his mother Beth’s (Cathy Moriarty – Raging Bull, Analyze That) misplaced blame, Adam flies into a rage lashing out at drug dealers in town.
With two other frustrated citizens, Hazel and Edward (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs – Roots, 31), Adam approaches town law enforcement, Officer Jerry (Garry Pastore – The Irishman, The Wolf of Wall Street), who he feels isn’t doing enough, and convinces him that the three should be deputized in order to hunt down those selling drugs in town. He agrees, but this is the beginning of the end.
Though Officer Jerry has the best intentions, he is seen as getting in the task force’s, and more specifically Adam’s, way. Adam is not about to let a little thing like law and procedure get in the way of him getting the dealer he believed sold the fatal dose to his sister.
We have acknowledged that we are fighting a war against drugs/opiates, most seem to think that the authorities are not doing enough to win it. Adam personifies all who feel frustrated and have lost someone to drugs. His anger and pain is palpable; he just wants someone to pay. A character like Hazel is set up to personify most of us. We are heartbroken about what is happening, want to do something to make it stop, but are not willing to go as far as people like Adam.
The story is quite interesting here. You will feel the pain and frustration of the characters trying to do what they can to stop the deaths. What sets it back a little is the predictability of the story. A feeling crops up that Folmar set about to hit some marks and is ticking off boxes as he goes along. Those boxes stick out a little too much not really occuring seamlessly in the film. There is also an element of pontification going on here making the viewer feel like they are in a class being lectured to instead of settling in to enjoy a film.
It is a film that despite its flaws will resonate with you. You do feel yourself getting emotionally involved. It is an important subject matter with plenty of weight to it.