After a man loses his daughter to a drug overdose, he begins a vigilante campaign to bring down the white-collar criminals, including the doctors and pharmaceutical companies, behind the opioid epidemic.
PAINKILLER boasts gorgeous opening titles with 360-degree slow-motion character images surrounded by raining down multicolored pills. Combined with a truly magnificent score, it feels like the audience is being set up for a wild ride. Unfortunately, the overall experience is less thrilling. The premise is intriguing. It’s a revenge story that any parent could get behind. The film gets bogged down by amateur performances from the majority of the cast. I also scratched my head at the idea that a heart surgeon, whose wife is begging for his money in a divorce proceeding, didn’t reside in a more upscale home. This could have been easily addressed by filming those scenes in the same location used for our leading man. After seeing the clarity and effectiveness of the drone shots, this detail disappointed me.
The acting is either over-the-top or underwhelming, with three notable exceptions. Khalmimah Gaston as Detective Janet Simone is an awesome scene partner for Bill Oberst Jr. Their dialogues lays the emotional groundwork that drives the plot. I absolutely believe her as a cop. She’s even-keeled and always present with Bill. Tom Parnell, who also wrote and produced the film, is very strong as Dr. Thomas Mac. While I did think his character deserved better accommodations, his chemistry with his fellow cast members is solid. That final scene is some of the best written and performed in the film. Now onto our leading man Bill Oberst Jr. The tone of his voice is intoxicating. There’s a vulnerability to his portrayal of Bill that makes the audience root for him. His scenes, both as he interacts with callers on his radio show and as he seeks revenge on those who push opioids, are captivating. He is undeniably the number one reason to watch PAINKILLER.
*ON DEMAND/DIGITAL/DVD* MAY 4, 2021