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Review: Dope

Now before you read further on, you might be saying to yourself, “Didn’t this dude just review a coming-of-age story with Me, Earl and The Dying Girl?” Well I would say to you, “Shut up. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl was a curious viewing. Dope is a film I’ve been looking forward to.”

As the story goes, this takes an updated look at a boy finding love and trying to survive his high school life in Inglewood, California. The players are introduced in the typical narrating way (voiced by Forest Whitaker) but this does not give too much away and lets the audience further explore the characters.

There is a message that is played around, (even hammered into you a little bit too much) during the film, and is finally thrown in your face in that “Spike Lee” kind of way by the climax of the film . There are a few stumbles in the story as it progress forward, to the point that I thought certain arcs were coming to a close, but, instead, goes on. Not a huge dig against the film, but could’ve been a bit more smoothed out.

The acting from the main three characters is something that will stay with you even after your drive from the theater. Revolori role has the same amount of fun that we know from his part in The Grand Budapest Hotel but allows the gloves to come off and let loose with a “don’t give a fuck” attitude. Moore and Clemons for me stick out the most. The two were fun and always on point when it came to their comedic marks.

Moore’s Malcolm is the shy, nerdy black kid that you would want to root for because of the environment that sees him an outsider, regardless the color of his skin; a part that hit close to home for me.  Clemons as Digby gets an extra star because her role seemed so natural for her to do. She comes off as one of the guys, but one of the guys you would glad to call your friend.

The direction of the film takes some gambles at first, but once they are set in motion, it fits perfectly with the vibe of the story. One scene in particular is set in a club where everyone is having a good time and enjoying themselves. But then, all of a sudden, “BAM,” a gun fight breaks out in the backrooms that spill out onto the main floor. This is awesome, as it doesn’t shy away from the reality these folks live in.

Another part I dug a lot was when the movie takes a halt and lets the main character direct his statement to the audience. It borders on the edge of “too much”, but reels it back it before it comes to that annoying level.

The soundtrack is something that brings you back to that time of 90s hip hop, if you were fortunate enough to experience it. I found myself bobbing my head to a lot of it, reliving my youth and trying to see if my older brother still had his old cassette collection after leaving.

I would have to say that you should definitely check this one out before it leaves the theaters. The comedy is well played, the characters are fun, and it gives a look into today’s youth from the inner city side, but without getting too serious as to not let you have some fun. I hate to use this pun but the movie is so good, that I would have say that it is, without a doubt, DOPE.

Grade: A

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