Gary Oldman is considered by many as one of the finest actors of this generation. He has a long string of hit movies, portraying vastly different characters from all walks of life. He was just nominated for an Academy Award for the third time in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Herman J. Mankiewicz in Mank and his newest movie, Crisis, is the #1 movie on Apple TV in the USA.
Crisis stars Gary Oldman as Dr. Tyrone Brower and is set against the backdrop of the ongoing opioid epidemic. Oldman’s Bower is employed by an unnamed private college in Michigan and he, along with his team, are getting great results from a new drug they created called Klaralon, a painkiller that is supposedly less addictive than many other painkillers and could end up resulting in billions of dollars of profit for the Big Pharma. But there is a hitch. While the drug is promising, it does hold some potentially deadly side-effects. Luke Evans arrives as the big exec who offers Brower a sizeable amount of money if he were to remain quiet about the side-effects by having him sign a non-disclosure agreement. It would be an $800,000 influx to Brower’s bank account. Greg Kinnear appears as the school’s dean who continues to urge Brower to sign the deal.
There are other stories in Crisis that appear and eventually collide with Gary Oldman’s. Armie Hammer is DEA agent Jake Kelly, who is attempting to take down a group of Armenian gangsters who are smuggling in large amounts of fentanyl into the United States. In what resembles Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 classic Traffic, Kelly, like Michael Douglas’ daughter in Traffic, has a sister (played by Lily-Rose Depp) who is addicted to the drug and who is out to save her from overdosing. It should be noted, this movie was filmed before Hammer and his cannibalistic tendencies hit social media.
In the third story of Crisis, Evangeline Lilly plays a recovering oxy addict who has put together her life post drugs nicely. But things turn on their head for her when her teenage son dies from an apparent drug overdose. Lilly then goes on a vengeance tour, seeking revenge for her son’s death.
Crisis was written, produced, and directed by Nicholas Jarecki, who has The Informers and Arbitrage to his credits. While there is most definitely an audience for the movie, as evidenced by its #1 ranking on iTunes, it has been less than a critical hit. Most reviewers have found Jarecki’s Crisis too bloated. The film tries to stuff too much story into its narrative, taking away from some possible good performances. Gary Oldman does shine, as he does in most of his movies, but the stuffing of subplots diminishes the powerful effect Jarecki’s movie could have had concerning the opioid epidemic.
In his nearly four decades of work, Gary Oldman has given fans so many wonderful performances. While his career began four years earlier, Oldman opened eyes with his portrayal of Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistol’s bassist, in the movie Sid and Nancy, telling the story of Vicious, his departure from the group, his heroin addiction, and the morning Nancy is found stabbed to death and Vicious is arrested for her murder.
Gary Oldman moved onto many other notable characters. He played Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Zorg in The Fifth Element, Dr. Smith in Lost in Space, Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour, and of course Herman Mankiewicz in his Oscar-nominated performance in Mank. These are only a few of Oldman’s roles that he is so well known for.
If one word can describe Gary Oldman’s career choices, it’s eclectic. He has found success in virtually every genre of movie with the uncanny ability to live in each character’s skin. And while Oldman will continue his work on feature films, the actor is taking a rare departure from features to star in a TV series (a first for him) in Slow Horses for Apple. The series is based on Mick Herron’s Slough House novels and will see Oldman play Jackson Lamb, who leads a group of British intelligence agents at MI5 in a department called Slough House. The agents represent those who have had career-ending mistakes, now serving their remaining time in the bottom-of-the-barrel department.
There isn’t a premiere date set for Slow Horses so until that time, check out Crisis. Also, tune in (if you dare) to the 93rd Academy Awards on April 25th, 2021 to see if Gary Oldman will grab his second Best Actor award.