One can’t deny the well-meaning premise behind director Spencer T. Folmar’s opioid crisis drama SHOOTING HEROIN. It is clearly a topic that is under-exposed in the current cinematic zeitgeist, but the film’s lack of nuance undermines what might have been a story that could shine a light on this devastating epidemic.
The film follows a returning war hero, (played with admirable restraint and sensitivity by Alan Powell) who is dropped smack in the middle of an entirely different battle zone, one that takes the life of his beloved sister and risks destroying his entire community. He is compelled to take drastic action, with potentially devastating consequences. His performance is the one that keeps the film from falling into an overly melodramatic pit of pedestrian sermonics and vigilante action tropes.
The cast includes the always welcome presences of the awesome Sherilyn Fenn and Cathy Moriarty, but even their noble attempts to rein in their characters are to no avail. Fenn, in particular, is given a character that often risks drowning in over the top Mommy Dearest level histrionics. Unfortunately, it is these types of overcooked stock characterizations, along with the often intrusive musical scoring, that results in the film falling short of delivering its vital message.
But one can’t deny there is an admirable passion here, and the film’s elegant lensing from veteran cinematographer John Honore gives the film a slick, top notch look. However, for all of its importance, SHOOTING HEROIN comes off as well meaning, but often heavy-handed.
by Ry Levey