Back in the ’80s and ’90s there was a deluge of movies about the crack cocaine epidemic. It was the time of the “War on Drugs” and Hollywood capitalized on the moment, to good and bad results. Today it’s the opioid crisis that is sweeping the country, and interestingly we’re getting a ton of projects that are focused on the corporate aspect of its explosion, and the people who have gotten rich at the expense of others.
Enter Netflix’s star-studded Pain Hustlers, which is set to have its world premiere at TIFF in just a matter of days. Chris Evans and Emily Blunt star as pharmaceutical reps who are at the forefront of the opioid epidemic.
Catherine O’Hara, Chloe Coleman, Jay Duplass, Brian d’Arcy James, Amit Shah, Aubrey Dollar, Willie Raysor, and Andy Garcia co-star. David Yates, best known for his lengthy run of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies, is behind the camera. Wells Tower adapts Evan Hughes book of the same name.
Here’s the synopsis: Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) is a blue-collar single mom who has just lost her job and is at the end of her rope. A chance meeting with pharmaceutical sales rep Pete Brenner (Chris Evans) puts her on an upward trajectory economically but dubious path ethically as she becomes entangled in a dangerous racketeering scheme. Dealing with her increasingly unhinged boss (Andy Garcia), the worsening medical condition of her daughter (Chloe Coleman), and a growing awareness of the devastation the company is causing forces Liza to examine her choices. Pain Hustlers is a sharp and revealing look at what some people do out of desperation, and others do out of greed.
Pain Hustlers hits select theaters on October 20th, followed by Netflix a week later.