Life is tough on the streets of rural Ohio. Especially if you are a junkie. This is the life that Utah (Jack Kilmer – Thomas Dekker – A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010, Village of the Damned) and Opal (Alice Englert – Beautiful Creatures, Them That Follow) lead. All changes after a seemingly chance meeting with the very interesting Wood (Michael Kenneth Williams – 12 Years a Slave, Assassin’s Creed). He brings the two to Los Angeles to an addiction center with the promise of sobriety.
Dr. White (Melissa Leo – The Fighter, 21 Grams) works with Opal and Utah to varying degrees of success. Utah is sober and falls for a tech who works at the center named May (Jessica Rothe – La La Land, Happy Death Day). Soon it becomes apparent that more is at play at the center than sobriety. It actually is a place concerned with making money and not helping addicts get sober.
Wood and his pal Vin (Frank Grillo – The Purge: Anarchy, Avengers: Endgame) become mentors to Utah. They teach him how to find and bring addicts to the center. This makes Utah some money. But it is not all wins as Utah’s battle against his addiction is around every corner.
Right off the top this is an interesting story. I have seen documentaries on the subject but never a dramatic film. An important issue to tackle in films because it is happening and must be stopped. Addicts are by nature vulnerable and in the United States rehab centres, especially in places like Florida, use insurance companies to make money off of addicts. Not really wanting to get them sober. Rather they hope that those with good insurance just keep relapsing so they can charge the companies. A racket. The problem is known yet no one seems to want to put a stop to it.
The pinnacle of a film should be its ending. A payoff of sorts for those who watched it. There is nothing more disappointing when a film has an engaging story but the ending is mishandled. Leaves all who watch it with bad feelings overall. Here we are left unsatisfied. Empty. Because the ending is a rather vacuous one. No sense of completion.
The film is based on actual events so there is plenty of realism to be found. It is a powerful story. For those not familiar what goes on at rehab and with rehab centers what is covered here will be eye opening. The directing, acting (for the most part) and cinematography are all good. Basically the film is good until the last drop then that last taste is a bitter one which kinda overshadows what came before.