Inherit the Viper (2020)

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“Just when he wants to get out, they pull him back in”, may be from Godfather Part III, but it fits with this indie drama from director Anthony Jerjen as well.

Kip and Josie Riley have been involved in the family business for quite some time. They are local drug dealers, specializing in selling opioids. While Josie runs the business as the boss, former soldier Kip does his business. Business has been going well, but after a deal goes horrifically wrong and results in a death, Kip decides he wants out. However, he soon finds his attempts to leave more difficult than he expects.

Boots, the younger brother of Kip and Josie, makes the decision to join in on the family business. However, when he attempts to make his first deal, he finds himself duped and eventually double-crossed by the man he is supposed to make a deal with. Forced to flee, Boots gets some unexpected help, but Kip now finds himself in hot water not only with those involved in the deal, but also his father, who expects Kip to continue with the business as it is their means of survival. A whirlwind of events happen that will change the course of the three siblings forever.

This very tense drama from director Anthony Jerjen takes a look at the recent opioid crisis that has plagued the U.S. but from the viewpoints of the dealers and one whose attempt to get out of the game become more futile than he expects. Anthony Crabtree’s screenplay delves high in the tension factor when it comes to the lives of the three siblings involved in the central plot, with some intricate twists and turns.

Josh Hartnett is excellent as older brother Kip, the most tormented of the trio of siblings as he longs to get out of the dealer game. However, he constantly finds himself at a crossroads not only with his father, played by the legendary Bruce Dern, but also Boots, played by Owen Teague. Kip’s attempts to constantly ensure his brother’s safety by not letting him get involved in the family business is met with constant defiance. As Boots, Teague is the rash, hot-headed little brother who is determined to make himself and his family proud, at any cost. As for Margaret Levieva, her role as Josie attempts to be the glue between the brothers. She is the more level headed of the trio and even though she herself runs the family business, she has her own demons to face as seen in the third act.

There is no true action to the film give or take a few shootouts that has a more realistic view of things rather than something expected in a big Hollywood A-list action film. The film relies more on the tense drama and the serious nature of the addictions of not opioid, but in the third act, the vice of alcoholism as we see an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting in terms of a supporting character that proves to be vital in the case of one of our main trio. The film’s final scene tends to bring both the predictable and mesh it with something unexpected, giving it a sort of an epilogue between the trio of siblings in an individual form.

Inherit the Viper is quite a realistic film that takes the serious nature of the opioid crisis and churns a story of a whirlwind of events around the lives of two dealers and their hot-headed little brother.

WFG RATING: B+

Lionsgate presents a Barry Films production in association with the Tylor International Film Company. Director: Anthony Jerjen. Producers: Benito Mueller and Michel Merkt. Writer: Anthony Crabtree. Cinematography: Nicholas Wiesnet. Editing: Gordon Antell and Kiran Pallegadda.

Cast: Josh Hartnett, Margaret Levieva, Owen Teague, Bruce Dern, Kyle Knox, Chandler Riggs, Jared Bankens, Valorie Curry, Brad Willian Henke, Tara Buck, Blaine Kern III, Gabriel Rodriguez.

The film comes to select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on January 10.

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