David Yates’ “Pain Hustlers” sheds light on the opioid crisis

In a gripping cinematic twist, director David Yates delivers a tale that exposes the dark underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry in his latest film, Pain Hustlers. The movie takes a hard-hitting look at the opioid crisis, offering a commentary on the greed and heartlessness that can lurk behind the pursuit of profit.

According to a Flickering Myth review, the heart of this gritty narrative is Emily Blunt’s character, Liza Drake, a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Liza’s journey begins within the confines of a strip club, where she crosses paths with Chris Evans’ character, Pete Brenner. Recognising Liza’s street smarts, Pete offers her an unconventional opportunity to join a company seeking to promote a groundbreaking cancer pain medication that is safer than the addictive alternative dominating the market.

Desperate to secure a better future for her daughter Phoebe, who faces health challenges and a precarious living situation, Liza decides to take Pete up on his offer. What follows is a compelling depiction of the rise of this pharmaceutical company, led by an increasingly unhinged boss portrayed by Andy Garcia. As the company’s focus shifts from helping patients to maximising profits, Liza finds herself torn between her principles and the allure of financial success.

While Blunt’s performance and the ensemble cast’s dedication shine through the outlet points out, the film’s focus on a traditional protagonist may detract from its intended message. Pain Hustlers teeters on the edge of portraying the lone virtuous figure in a corrupt industry rather than delving into the industry’s moral bankruptcy and the recurring voiceovers, where Blunt expresses her concerns, come across as contrived and insincere, writes the outlet.

The film’s narrative, it adds, also grapples with structural issues as it juggles Liza’s corporate climb, her family drama, and the unscrupulous expansion of the drug market. This results in a somewhat disjointed storyline that occasionally sacrifices family dynamics for a deep dive into corporate greed.

It concludes that Pain Hustlers aspires to reach the heights of films like The Wolf of Wall Street but ultimately falls short of delivering the same punch. So, while it offers a critical perspective on the pharmaceutical industry’s moral compass, the film occasionally misses the mark, leaving viewers with mixed feelings about its protagonist and its message.

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