Emily Blunt and Chris Evans are Merchants of Pain for Netflix: Trailer

What is Merchants of Pain, with Emily Blunt, worth on Netflix? (critical)

The new David Yates, inspired by the true story around the opioid scandal, gets lost in a mixture of genres too complicated to orchestrate, despite an imperial Emily Blunt.

A deadly tragedy that has poisoned and decimated American society since the mid-2010s, the opioid scandal continues to inspire both the big and small screens. After the documentary by Laura Poitras, All the beauty and bloodshedGolden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2022 and the Disney + series Dopesick with Michael Keaton, it’s the turn of David Yates to take hold of it with Pain merchants.

the director of the last parts ofHarry Potter and the saga of Fantastic animals is also based on a true story told in 2018 by journalist Evan Hughes in an article in the New York Times Magazine and then in a novel. His investigation shows how a crooked pharmaceutical start-up, Insys Therapeutics, made a fortune with a painkiller spray based on fentanyl, an opiate 100 times more powerful than heroin, prescribed for needs and in deadly doses by doctors. whom they had corrupted.

As if freed from the constraints inherent to large machines (we also owe him the Tarzan with Alexander Skasgard and Margot Robbie in 2016), David Yates sets out to tell the story of this scandal which ended up in court through the audacious prism of satirical comedy. He depicts the members of this company which was collapsing before finding the martingale as a band of nickel-plated feet whose meteoric rise preceding an equally abysmal fall no one could have guessed. And for this he relies on a fictional character with finely crafted writing who is both an actress and a witness to the scandal.

Liza, a single mother struggling to make ends meet to raise her daughter, will succeed in getting hired by the start-up before becoming a key player in its development. In this first part, a delicious zaniness reigns, both in the writing of the situations and the colorful imagery of George Richmond’s photography (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Rocketman) than the fast pace of the story. Particularly in the completely uninhibited way in which the employees of this pharmacy corrupt health professionals, by choosing the most outdated and neglected by their competitors, initially ultra-dominant, whose market share they will little by little erode. A little game in which Emily Blunt treats us to a particularly irresistible composition as Liza

The only problem, but a major one, is that David Yates does not follow through with his action. In the same way that the violent reality – for them and especially for their victims – catches up with this gang of small-time scammers, Pain merchants gradually departs from its daring humor to get into the highlights of a pre-trial film (the arrests, the interrogations) then the trial. Probably too ambitious, the mix of genres does not work.

As the minutes pass, Pain merchants loses singularity and almost renders irrelevant the assumed lightness of its first half in front of the spirit of seriousness which gradually seems to take over and before which it then appears blatant that a documentary would in this case have been more impactful than a fiction. Even if Emily Blunt and the entire cast (Chris Evans, Andy Garcia and Catherine O’Hara, the mother of Mom, I missed the plane again, brilliant as an unworthy and unfiltered mother who shames her daughter), they do not waver in any way. They ultimately constitute the real good reason to discover this Merchants of pain.

By David Yates. With Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Andy Garcia… Duration: 2h02. Available on Netflix

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