Review: Kensington in Crisis

Directed by Jill Frechie, the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Once upon a time the nation’s homelessness and drug use were connected to poverty or “poor character”, today all of society shares in its deadly path. Kensington, a Philadelphia neighbourhood, lingers in its wake.

One of the things that might take you off guard with this film is how brutally honest it is, it’s likely many will find some of the footage upsetting but it refuses to look away from the horrors happening on the streets in broad daylight. It’s unflinching and graphic at times but it’s raw and makes you unable to escape the truth its exploring; that Kensington is one of many places in the US where heroin has invaded its streets and citizens have become disillusioned to the existence of its opioid epidemic. Ultimately it tells a tale of a government without the resources to implement ways to help people recover from addiction or to act fast enough before addiction turns to overdose.

The direction is well done, it really gives you a classic man on the street style perspective, again so you can’t escape its harrowing footage. It was an ambitious choice by these filmmakers to try and tackle the subject of addiction in such an honest way within such a short time, and there’s definitely much more to be discussed, but as a brief look into the situation it works impressively well. They dove headfirst into the subject and made sure to give you a poignant look into the epidemic. There’s a good variety of inclusions: regular citizens, victims of the epidemic, professionals and authorities, to convey its very clear overall message that not enough is being done and these addicts are quite literally just being ignored until they die. However, the only aspect that doesn’t quite fit is the score, it feels somewhat off tone with the grim subject, it’s ever so slightly upbeat which is out of place, it needed something a little more serious and pensive to emphasize its emotions and urgency.

Kensington in Crisis is not an easy watch, it’s unflinching and almost graphically honest. In other countries, or perhaps even just other states, people are shielded from the grim reality of this epidemic but this film will open your eyes to the harrowing state of addiction in parts of the U.S. and how little help is available to those who will likely die without it. There may be a lot of problems in the world currently but as these filmmakers show, something still urgently needs to be done to stop more people succumbing to heroin’s siren call.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯| 8/10

Kensington in Crisis is an official selection of the First Glance Film Festival

Watch the trailer below

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