For about a decade or so an opioid epidemic has had a firm grip on the United States (and other parts of the world as well). Problem being that they are legally obtained through a doctor’s prescription, but highly addictive. So people start on them to deal with pain then become addicted to them. Drug dealers have seized the opportunity to make a bunch of money off opioid addicts. To amplify their profits they cut the drugs with much more dangerous substances like fentanyl, which is an incredibly powerful drug.
Despite all this being known, that opioid, while effective pain killers, are highly addictive; the drug companies who produce it continue to due to the amount of money they make. So a large part of the problem here is the fact that the government has not stepped in and these corporations are greedy.
In this film, directed and written by Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage), we see the crisis through the lens of three intersecting stories. An undercover cop (Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name, On the Basis of Sex) posing as a drug dealer is attempting to organize a multi drug cartel smuggling operation between Canada and the United States so he can bring them all down. Claire (Evangeline Lilly – from television’s Lost) is a recovering addict, single mother of a teenage boy (Billy Bryk – from television’s Wynonna Earp) and an architect. A mother’s worst nightmare happens when he son goes missing and then turns up dead due to an overdose. Knowing her son was not a drug user, Claire does not accept the police’s explanation, so she goes off on her own following clues to what actually happened to her son. Finally, Dr. Tyrone Power (Gary Oldman – Mank, Darkest Hour), a university professor, is leading a small team conducting the final check on a new non-addictive pain killer set to enter the market. When his team discovers that the drug is actually very addictive/dangerous he is faced with a dilemma – take the money and keep quiet or risk his job to expose the danger.
Oldman, Hammer, Lilly along with Mia Kirshner, Lilly-Rose Depp, Kid Cudi, Greg Kinnear, Michelle Rodriguez, Guy Nadon, and Luke Evans make up the large cast here. Despite all this talent, the film, which was shot in Montreal, is not very good. Nor is it horrible. It is among the myriad of films which exist somewhere in the middle. This usually means that the film is rather forgettable.
Intentions are good here. But the flaws outweigh them. Starting with the writing. The backbone of any film is the story. Here we get a bunch of characters, but nary a background or development of any of them. Then there are the bunch of sloppy moments. All adds up to a rather frustrating watch. All this plus the fact of having Armie Hammer in a film kind of sets you up for failure before you even begin.
The film is available on VOD