by | Jul 5, 2015 | 0 comments

A Great Story and Cast Lead A Film Whose Message May Be Taken the Wrong Way

Dope is a very original and unique film, in that it places an unusual character: Malcolm (Shameik Moore) a geeky, straight As student living in a dingy neighborhood of Inglewood, California, in the middle of a drug coflict. After attending a drug lord’s birthday party (how he got there is a whole other story), Malcolm and his two best friends Jib (The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) find bags of dope inside Malcolm’s bag. This then presents Malcolm with the dilemma of following the moral path he has curtailed himself towards or the give in to the greed and shortcut that life has chanced him.

The film is ambitious in the way that it wants to portray the dangerous urban neighborhoods of the US. In essence it tries to tell the audience that even if you keep your head down and are mentally gifted, you end up being pulled into the dark criminal world.

The film takes on this message with a very comedic tone. Now I understand that with this tough subject matter, comedy is meant to relieve the audience from so much gloom, but I feel that director Rick Famuyiwa’s hand maybe slips a bit too much, which makes the film seem to praise blackmailing, murder, and drugs. What’s dangerous about this is that the majority of the young people who see this film might take that comedy in the wrong way, and the whole enlightening message that Dope was meant to give you is lost in an attempt to please the audience.

In terms of cinematic quality, the script is smart and really immerses you into the environment and ambient of the film. It even deals with omnipresent issue of race, a bit timidly even so, in a scene where a white man and the three main characters have a discussion on who is allowed to use the N-word. What I most enjoyed, however, was the cast; it was extremely solid and showed me that there is a strong young pool of talent coming up. After Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Dope I have high hopes for the acting business of this next generation (watch out Jennifer Lawrence and co.).

So in the end Dope’s ambition, cast, and original creativity make it an extremely enjoyable film, it’s only the effect on other audience members that makes me fear for the true aftershocks of the film. 



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