Dreamland (2020)

Evangeline Lilly, Armie Hammer, Gary Oldman, Veronica Ferres,
Crisis is a movie starring Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer, and Evangeline Lilly. Three stories about the world of opioids collide: a drug trafficker arranges a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation between Canada and the U.S., an...
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2019-02-14 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Nicholas Jarecki, Director:
  • Cassian Elwes, Producer:


5 / 10

wiki version

Greetings again from the darkness. The best thrillers often interweave multiple story lines to create a complex web of detail for viewers to unwind. Writer-director Nicholas Jarecki (ARBITRAGE, 2012) serves up three story lines, all related to the current Opioid crisis. Although the film looks great and has a deep cast, we've seen most of this before and no new insight is provided in regards to the struggle. Instead, it's really standard thriller fare that never goes deep enough into any of the characters to make us care.

Armie Hammer (along with the recent personal baggage attached to him) stars as Jake Kelly, a DEA Agent who has worked undercover in hopes of exposing the Armenian-Canadian-American drug traffickers responsible for a significant portion of opioids crossing the border. Hammer spends the entire movie with an intensely furrowed brow that would likely inspire distrust amongst any potential drug syndicates.

In storyline number 2, Evangeline Lilly (Wasp in the ANT-MAN movies) is Claire Reimann, an architect and recovering drug addict, who is out for vengeance when her beloved high school athlete son is found dead with drugs in his system. The third segment features Oscar winner Gary Oldman (DARKEST HOUR, 2017) as Dr. Tyrone Brower, a science professor at a private Detroit university. He runs a drug-testing lab and faces a moral dilemma when questionable lab results for "the first non-addictive painkiller" puts people at risk, not to mention funding for his work.

Any one of these actors or stories could carry the weight of a movie, but when combined, they succeed only in crushing the entertainment value and tension level. Oldman's story is easily the most interesting. It addresses how Big Pharma gets new drugs rubber-stamped by funding otherwise cash-strapped labs and schools. There is also the skepticism involved with the drug-producer's influence over the supposedly independent FDA, and on top of all that, there is the ethical concerns of everyone putting the almighty dollar ahead of safety.Director Jarecki (the brother of Andrew Jarecki who directed the superb 2003 documentary CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS) kicks off the movie with a beautifully filmed, albeit brief, chase scene through the snowy Canadian forest. In fact, the camera work throughout is fine. It's really the overloaded script that prevents any of the stories or characters from clicking. Mr. Oldman seems to sense that he needs to overcome the lack of complexity in his story, and because of the effort, loses his usual reserved cerebral approach for which he's known.

Supporting work is provided by Greg Kinnear as the Dean willing to sacrifice ethics and friendship for money, Michelle Rodriguez as the DEA supervisor in a budget crunch, and Lily-Rose Depp as Jake's strung out sister. Also contributing are Indira Varma, John Ralston, Martin Donovan, Mia Kirshner, Kid Cudi, Michael Aronov, Luke Evans, and Veronica Ferres. The weakest link here is director Jarecki himself, who for some reason, thought he could play Jake's partner ... a role that would have benefited from a more refined actor.

The horrific effects of the Opioid crisis are known to most, and the film plays like a Wikipedia explanation for anyone who doesn't read or watch the news. Certainly not helping is the "Miami Vice" type score that accompanies many scenes, and the choppy editing that causes many scenes to fail. Better movies in this genre would include THE INSIDER (1999, ironically directed by "Miami Vice" creator Michael Mann) and Soderbergh's TRAFFIC (2000). The obstacles faced by whistleblowers, the importance of funding to academia, budgetary concerns for law enforcement, the tragic impact of drugs on families, and the systemic corruption that has fueled the epidemic ... all of these are touched on. It's just that it all seems too obvious. If somehow you didn't already know, the money-hungry don't play fair - whether they be drug dealers or drug companies.The film will hit theaters on February 26, 2021 and Digital and On Demand March 5, 2021

10 / 10

A superb thriller

Excellent, original movie that goes deep into every part of the opioid mess and delivers real tension and wonderful performances from all the actors. I loved Evangeline Lilly as a woman on the edge and Oldman always brings it, here playing a very conflicted man. It's beautifully shot and keeps you breathless until the end. Really a great film.

10 / 10

Very entertaining and important.

Amazing cast, superb story, timely and relevant. Highly recommend if your enjoyed movies like traffic. Oldman in particular was outstanding.

10 / 10

Fantastic Movie!

Crisis is a fantastic movie. This story will connect with everyone who sees it.


Crisis is a movie with cinematography that delivers a feast for the eye.

Expertly shot on 35 MM color negative. I experienced a good serving of power inherent in the KODAK VISION3 series. (NIGHT: KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219.DAY: KODAK VISION3 250D Color Negative Film 5207.)

I liked the choices in camera, lens, lights, and aspect ratio. Crisis delivers with Arricam LT and 40mm, 50mm, 75mm lenses. Shoot in anamorphic 2.35:1. Night scenes are enjoyable because of the quality inherent to HMI's and 18K's.

Filming Movement

Crisis glides between 57 locations utilizing multiple moving methods and shooting techniques which guarantees the silver screen see the best. Crisis displays s masterful mix of choices between guaranteed action and innovative movement.


The writing is good. Crisis displays the fruits of deep research.

Set Design

Quality went into Crisis set selection and you feel it. The set design in this movie clearly delivered positively as demonstrated by the supporting influence of the hard hitting performances. The sets are exactly like the real thing and you can feel the authenticity.


The golden age of editing is upon us and on display for all of us to see and enjoy. On-screen you can see a highly polished product that is the clear manifestation of excellence in editing.


Front and center this soundtrack delivers the highest highs and lowest lows with a depth and richness to be experienced in the most modern of theaters. A core foundational pillar of this movie-

I enjoyed the soundtrack and this movie immensely.

10 / 10

Hard-hitting and thought provoking

This smart, gritty, thriller has beautiful visuals and outstanding performances from a great array of talented actors who inhabit their characters on the edge. It moves quickly and leaves you wanting more - more action against corruption, more attention paid to the devastating epidemic the film captures. As a movie it's exciting and filled with energy. Oldman is superb as a conflicted professor and Evangeline Lilly does her best work to date, inhabiting a dangerous woman on the edge. The conclusion is highly satisfying in ways you wouldn't expect. Nothing is perfect, nothing is easy, but the struggle is what is important.