Pain Hustlers follows the incredible life of Liza Drake, played by the ever-dynamic Emily Blunt.
A high-school dropout and now a young mother, Liza is desperate to provide for her daughter. When she lands a job at a failing pharmaceutical startup, she thinks she's found her chance.
But as she navigates through the underbelly of the corporate world, she finds herself tangled in a web of deceit and corruption.
Based on Evan Hughes' riveting 2022 novel, this Netflix movie is a journey of suspense, heart, and the relentless pursuit of a dream, no matter the cost.
Buckle up, because Liza's going to take you on a wild ride through the chaos of ambition and the dark corners of the American dream.
What Is Pain Hustlers About?
Liza Drake has hit rock bottom. She lives in her sister's garage with her teenage daughter, she can't keep a job, and life has basically been one disaster after another.
Now working as a stripper, she meets Pete Brenner (Chris Evans), who offers her a job at Zanna, a pharmaceutical company trying to break into the Florida market.
Desperate for a change and a chance at earning some decent cash, she tracks him down and is hired as a sales rep. But she soon discovers that as the market is sewn up by its rivals, Zanna is on the brink of closing down.
All Liza has to do to keep her job is get one doctor to prescribe Lonafen. Lonafen is a supposedly non-addictive nasal spray designed for cancer pain relief.
So Liza eventually convinces one doctor to write the prescription, and from there, Zanna explodes onto the market.
The share prices go through the roof, the commissions for sales reps increase substantially, and everything is going fine until Liza realises that Lonafen is just fentanyl and patients are not only becoming addicted but dying because of it.
As Zanna continues to rake in profits, company founder Jack Neel (Andy Garcia) becomes even more eccentric and impatient when sales flatten.
Despite it contravening the FDA regulations, Neel pressures Liza and the sales team to push the drug off-label, marketing it for all types of pain, not just cancer.
And that's when Liza Drake realises that a line in the sand has been crossed.
Pain Hustlers Official Trailer
Is Pain Hustlers Worth Watching?
Director David Yates certainly managed to bag some big names for Pain Hustlers, all of whom do a great job. But props go to Emily Blunt, who practically carries the movie, though Andy Garcia does a solid job of getting crazier and crazier as time passes.
Unlike other Big Pharma movies and TV series, like Dopesick, which have shown the devasting effects of the opioid epidemic, Pain Hustlers comes at the problem from the other side.
Liza Drake wasn't a bad person. She was a blue-collar single mom who just wanted to make some money and take care of her sick daughter. She was ambitious and desperate and, if this movie is to be believed, didn't even know that the drug was as destructive as it turned out to be.
As characters go, she is entirely relatable, making the film so compelling. However, there is a point where it goes from being a sharp and revealing look at the inner workings of a pharmaceutical company to suddenly being rushed as the ending draws in.
The film spends so long building up the problems inside Zanna only to wrap everything up in a matter of minutes. You almost feel cheated out of a proper resolution. That, and it refers to the real-life case on which the film is based without ever mentioning the real company or the people in it – probably for legal reasons.
Otherwise, Pain Hustlers is a decent watch. Emily Blunt is excellent, but I have a feeling that it won't stay with you very long after the credits have rolled.
Cast Of Pain Hustlers
Emily Blunt (Sicario) as Liza Drake, a young single mother who becomes a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company and soon finds herself on a dubious path ethically.
Chris Evans (Ghosted) as Pete Brenner, Liza's boss.
Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek) as Jackie, Liza's mother
Andy García as Dr. Neel, Liza's increasingly unhinged boss who is the founder of Zanna.
Jay Duplass as Larkin
Brian d'Arcy James as Dr. Lydell
Amit Shah as Eric Paley
Chloe Coleman as Phoebe, Liza's daughter
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