By The TV Answer Man team
Painkiller debuted yesterday on Netflix. Matthew Broderick stars in the fictional retelling of how the opioid epidemic began in America. This is the streamer’s answer to Hulu’s brilliant series, Dopesick, which starred Michael Keaton. If it’s as good as the Hulu offering, it’s must viewing. Peter Berg, the creative force behind Friday Night Lights, is directing Painkiller and the cast includes former FNL star Taylor Kitsch as an addicted mechanic. But is Painkiller any good? Rotten Tomatoes, which tracks critical reviews, currently gives the show a score of 45 out of 100, based on 31 reviews. Here’s a sampling of the reviews, and a show trailer.
“Painkiller’s mistake is to add a note of dark comedy to a story where no embellishment is required.” — Daily Telegraph (UK)/
“Painkiller wants to say something profound about how the opioid crisis was started but does so in a way that feels completely tone-deaf.” — Decider.
“Once you get past a few of the same contours in the first Painkiller episode, this Netflix limited series manages to stand on its own.” — Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“Painkiller’s incongruous tone renders it less emotionally resonant than Hulu’s Peabody Award-winning Dopesick, and the six-episode series does not have much new to offer to the story other than a propulsive and righteous rage.” — Entertainment Weekly.
“About the only cliché Painkiller doesn’t stoop to is a scene of Broderick tossing paper bills into the air and rolling around on a king-size bed covered with money.” — Slate.
“The weakest overall link in the series is the Sackler family material… But Painkiller is still mighty potent, another kaleidoscopic call to awareness of a massive public health crisis and the family most responsible for causing it.”– Rolling Stone.
“Unfortunately, Painkiller fails to trust that its audience has even a slither of context concerning the subject. Instead, it exhaustively focuses on every little detail, enabling most scenes to dissolve into melodrama.” — Variety.
To read more reviews of Painkiller at Rotten Tomatoes, click here.
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