Crisis parents guide

Crisis Parent Guide

Ironically the biggest problem with this film is boredom.

Overall C-

Digital on Demand: Three people leading very different lives are about to be brought together: A high-level drug trafficker who is trying to arrange a new fentanyl smuggling operation, the mother of a son missing in the midst of the opioid crisis, and a university professor with ties to a pharmaceutical company which manufactures narcotic painkillers...

Release date March 5, 2021

Violence C-
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Crisis rated R? The MPAA rated Crisis R for drug content, violence, and language throughout.

Run Time: 118 minutes

Parent Movie Review

The world of prescription opiates is complex and many-layered. At street level, recovering addict Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lily) is forced to take a deep look at international opiate smuggling after her son (Billy Bryk) is found dead of what the police claim to be an accidental overdose. On a law enforcement level, undercover DEA agent Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) has been working with a variety of smugglers and dealers to make some high level busts – while managing his sister (Lily-Rose Depp), a self-destructive addict. On the production level, university researcher Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman) struggles with his conscience after learning through his studies that a new opiate which claims to be addiction-resistant is not, in fact, resistant. Worse still, it has a long-term addiction profile far more dangerous than some existing prescriptions. But the pharmaceutical company producing the drug is also one of the largest sources of funding for his department, and there would be a price to pay were he to speak out As their stories play out, it becomes clear to each of them that this problem is far larger than any single issue or perspective.

Ironically, despite the urgency and lethality of the opiate epidemic, the biggest problem with Crisis is boredom. Yes, the opiate crisis is a huge and complicated issue, and the consequences are disastrous. Unfortunately, it is a crisis with a heavy bureaucratic aspect, and there’s almost no way to make the ins and outs of university administration and corporate non-disclosure exciting. The filmmakers have tried to compensate with a more intriguing organized crime plotline, but this is still a two-hour long movie in three parts, and the multiple stories make it feel even longer.

The other issue is Armie Hammer. For those of you who are mercifully ignorant, I advise you to skip this paragraph; ignorance really is bliss. Trust me, you don’t want to know. For the rest of us who are aware of some of his…personal predilections, watching him on screen is increasingly uncomfortable. As with most actors facing allegations of sexualized misbehaviour, whether or not you watch this is going to depend largely on either how much you care or on how willing you are to compartmentalize that knowledge for at least two hours. For me, it’s like the Ghost Of Perversions Past every time I see him on screen, so that was less than pleasant. If you’re a parent trying to decide if you should let your teen watch this, Armie Hammer isn’t the only issue. I imagine the constant profanity, intravenous drug use, and bloody violence will be bigger concerns.

Big issue movies like Crisis typically suffer from the same set of problems. If they focus in on one story, they miss out larger structural issues. If they focus on big structural problems, they have a tendency to drag. If they try and mix-and-match, they tend to lose focus and excitement. If you’re passionate about the opioid crisis personally then you may find this compelling, but I think for most audiences it’s just going to be a slow two hours.

Directed by Nicholas Jarecki. Starring Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer, and Evangeline Lilly.. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release March 5, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Crisis

Rating & Content Info

Why is Crisis rated R? Crisis is rated R by the MPAA for drug content, violence, and language throughout.

Violence: Several individuals are shot and killed. A man is shown lying dead in a pool of blood. There are allusions to suicides and attempted suicides.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 50 uses of extreme profanity and occasional scatological curses. There are also infrequent uses of terms of deity and mild profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are seen drinking socially. Characters are shown smuggling drugs, specifically fentanyl. Individuals are shown using a variety of drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Characters are killed offscreen by overdoses of opiates.

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Crisis Parents' Guide

Who is fundamentally responsible for the opioid epidemic? Who suffers the brunt of the consequences for that epidemic? How does your local government address the issue? Which approaches do you think have had the best results?

Nature: Tracing the US opioid crisis to its roots

Time: The Opioid Diaries

CNN: America’s opioid epidemic

BBC: Opioid Epidemic: The other public health crisis killing Canadians

The New York Times: Opioid Epidemic


Home Video

Related home video titles:

This film has a great deal in common with Lambs for Lions which attempts a similar triptych approach to storytelling on issues surrounding the US invasion of Iraq. If you just like crime that happens in Canada, Disappearance at Clifton Hill is a recent offering. Clint Eastwood’s The Mule follows a drug smuggler bringing narcotics over America’s southern border.