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Crisis director Nicholas Jarecki on opioids, Gary Oldman & Armie Hammer

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Crisis director Nicholas Jarecki on opioids, Gary Oldman & Armie Hammer

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A few months ago, Nicholas Jarecki’s CRISIS was a hot ticket movie. Full disclosure – I’m a voting member of the Critics Choice Association. Given how positively the director’s previous movie, Arbitrage, was received we were given early access to it for awards consideration. Very shortly after we received our copies, the allegations against Armie Hammer surfaced. Given that he’s one of the three stars (opposite Gary Oldman and Evangeline Lilly), many opted not to review the film once it came out. Those that did were decidedly mixed. All this despite the film having good buzz prior to what happened with Hammer. 

Again, full disclosure – I was mixed on the film. It takes a Traffic-like approach to the Opioid epidemic, following three stories that converge. There’s a university professor, played by Oldman, involved in the clinical testing of a new, supposedly non-addictive pain pill that he discovers may indeed be addictive. Meanwhile, a grieving mother is trying to discover what led to her son’s opioid overdose, bringing her face-to-face with an undercover DEA agent played by Hammer, whose sister (Lily Rose-Depp) is an addict.

While I found both Oldman’s performance and his storyline compelling, the other two parts of the movie left me somewhat cold, but I must admit that I was surprised how brutally the film was initially reviewed. At one point the RT score was hovering around 26%, but now it’s rebounded as more have seen the film, to over 60%, which seems much more appropriate. While I was mixed, I still think Crisis is a worthwhile film. I was surprised when the director, Nicholas Jarecki, reached out to me personally on Twitter asking my opinion on the film. While my opinion hasn’t changed, I found Jarecki’s story fascinating and was happy he agreed to sit for an interview where nothing was off the table. Check it out, as Jarecki gives an interesting insight into the challenges of marketing a film when your lead is “canceled”, with the additional challenge of Covid-19 to boot!

Crisis is available on VOD now!

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