Utah (Jack Kilmer) and Opal (Alice Englert) are young heroin addicts in the heartland. Roaming from score to score, there is not much hope in their future; that is until Wood (Michael Kenneth Williams) makes them an offer to receive treatment for their addiction. Utah jumps at the chance to trade in his needles for a new life in sunny Los Angeles, while Opal is skeptical of their new guardian angel. What begins as a slow-burn about the struggles of drug addiction quickly turns into a slick business drama. Tensions are always high as Body Brokers takes viewers into the seedy business of self-improvement.
Soon after leaving rehab, Utah is recruited by Wood to join the ranks of the “Brokers” – those who fill the beds at rehab facilities. While on the job, Utah gets introduced to Vin (Frank Grillo), the CEO of several rehab facilities. Before long, Utah becomes Wood’s right-hand man, making money with every patient and, most importantly, every repeating patient. With more money than he could ever fathom, Utah is flying high and still ninety-days sober. But how long can his sobriety last when things start to spiral out of control? And how long does the high last when you cannot trust anyone, even your friends?
“…Wood makes them an offer to receive treatment for their addiction.”
Body Brokers does admittedly start very slow. The first act is primarily laying the groundwork for the capitalist glamour of the second-act. Utah’s initiation into the business is oozing with style and gives serious The Wolf of Wall Street or War Dogs vibes as the immorality only heightens the excess. Frank Grillo does a fantastic job not only bringing gravitas to the character of Vin but narrating the many ways his rehab exploits the system. If you’ve seen The Big Short, he serves as our Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath for most of the film. Along with Grillo’s performance, Michael Kenneth Williams is a standout, as usual, adding nuance and charisma to Wood.
When watching Body Brokers, I felt like I was viewing one of the most stylized “scared straight films” I have ever seen. It has a huge anti-drug message and even concludes by giving several haunting stats about the dangers of drug use and the impacts of Twelve-step programs. The ending comes very abruptly and, the first hour is painstakingly slow. However, it does have a very eye-opening message and contains several solid performances from Grillo, Williams, and Kilmer. If you are a fan of the Jesse storylines in Breaking Bad or enjoy a pseudo-corporate thriller, this should make an enjoyable movie night.
"…a very eye-opening message and contains several solid performances..."