Movie Review: Dope

4 Dope (2015)

This review is a few weeks late since I saw the movie back in June, but better late than never! This movie is so good it deserves to be talked about more. Dope has a mostly unknown group of actors but it is such a great movie. It has an excellent performances by the cast, a fantastic soundtrack, and a a hilarious yet thought provoking plot.

The film’s story is very original, it does gets a little too far fetched sometimes with the character’s schemes and their use of technology, but the film is so enjoyable to watch that I give the filmmakers a pass.Even though its technically a high-school movie, Dope is very different from any other “high school movie” that I’ve ever seen been before. For one the film takes place in Inglewood, California in a neighborhood referred to as “the bottoms”. It’s not often that you see major motion pictures set in the hood, where the main characters aren’t gangsters, rappers, or thugs. What makes Dope unique is that the 3 main characters are all nerdy kids that want to go to college. Dope is both a hilarious and dramatic film that pays attention to an often ignored side of our society, and does an excellent job at telling an original story.

There are plenty of things to like about this film. It’s beautifully shot, and edited. The film has a fantastic soundtrack, great visuals and very well made montages. The dialogue is very funny and witty too. What made the movie for me though had to be the performances by all the main characters. Shameik Moore (who plays the main character Malcolm) in particular gave a superb performance, I see a bright future in the movie business for him. There is one scene in particular where he finally stands up to his tormentor that was so good it gave me chills. Tony Revolori & Kiersey Clemons were excellent as well, they both did great jobs at making their characters funny and relate-able at the same time. I also enjoyed the supporting role performances by Blake Anderson (of Workaholics fame) as well as rapper A$AP Rocky‘s  first big role in a motion picture.

Another great thing about the Dope is all the questions that it raises. There aren’t too many films out there that focus on high school kids that go to school in the ghetto, Dope does an excellent job at telling a unique story that focuses on an ofter ignored minority in our country. The film deals with themes like drugs, violence, bullying, gang mentality, pressure from society, and what it means to be black nowadays.

Dope is a far from perfect film, but it’s refreshingly original and it breaks the mold of what a high-school/coming of age movie is supposed to be like. Dope isn’t scared to ask hard questions, and shine a light at some ugly aspects of our society. It is a very thought provoking film, but it is also very funny and so enjoyable to watch. I don’t know much about director Rick Famuyiwa‘s work but I’ll be sure to check out his future projects. Dope is an amazing movie and it deserves all the praise it gets. if you haven’t already done so, go see it! 4/5

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