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Body Brokers (Movie Review) starring Frank Grillo & Jessica Rothe

Body Brokers (Movie Review) starring Frank Grillo & Jessica Rothe
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PLOT: A young drug addict (Jack Kilmer) is whisked off to rehab by a helpful ex-addict (Michael K. Williams), only to be ushered into the world of “BODY BROKERS”. Here, addicts are shuffled around from one rehab to another to take advantage of huge insurance company payouts in the for-profit rehab industry.

REVIEW: Body Brokers is a lot like the underrated 99 Homes, in that a young man victimized by a cruel industry, in turn, becomes a victimizer himself when the lure of easy money proves to be a temptation that’s too hard to ignore. Jack Kilmer’s Utah is an easy guy to understand. Having been more-or-less raised on the streets, he tells his rehab intake officer that he’s been addicted to heroin and crack for a decade. Played by the babyfaced Kilmer, Utah seems barely legal to drink, so the idea is that he’s been an addict since he was a child, with him teaming up with another hopeless addict, Alice Englert’s Opal, to rob stores and turn tricks to score.

body brokers Jack Kilmer

All of this may sound like another “recovery” movie, but that’s not what Body Brokers is - not by a long shot. Utah seemingly kicks his addiction early on, only to be taken under the wing of Michael K. Williams’s Wood. He shows him that there’s BIG MONEY to be made in rehab, as the opioid crisis paired with new insurance regulations has led to a gold rush in for-profit rehabs. Insurance companies are on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars each visit (the whole scam is well-explained here), and body brokers find addicts and move them around, accepting the hefty commission.

Utah becomes a body broker, with Williams’ Wood explaining “hey - they’re gonna relapse anyway, we may as well get rich”, an ethos instilled into him by his own addictions and the rehab big-wig he works for, played by Frank Grillo at his unscrupulous best. It’s an intriguing movie that shines a light on a truly horrible practice, given the very real opioid epidemic we’re all living through (one which has only gotten worse thanks to COVID).

Frank Grillo body brokers

The cast is great, with Kilmer (the son of Val and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) a real find in the lead. He has a wounded quality that makes some of the harder to take plot twists, such as Jessica Rothe’s kindly intake nurse becoming an unlikely love interest, easier to accept. The heart of the movie, oddly, is his relationship with Wood. This is another great part for Williams. While undeniably a grifter who’s out for himself, you get the feeling that he does care about Utah in his own way, even if he’s gotten him hooked into a business that’ll rot your soul from the inside out. Grillo is convincing as basically the Gordon Gekko of body brokering, narrating the film and being our guide through their unscrupulous practices, while Englert is haunting as an utterly hopeless hardcore junkie and has been left with a heart of stone.

Written and directed by Let Me Make You A Martyr’s John Swab, Body Brokers never shies away from the human misery the practice of body brokering indulges in, but he’s nonetheless made a fast-paced, entertaining film. It’s a gem and hopefully, with us all trapped in our homes for the foreseeable future, people will give it a shot. It’s well worth checking out.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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