Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dope (USA, 2015)

Nine Things About the Movie Dope.

1. This is a unique film. It's intelligent, funny, and socially relevant. It's hard to describe in a way that really captures the essence (or brilliance) of the film.

2. It's about a high school senior named Malcolm, and his best friends Diggy and Jib, living in a tough neighborhood in LA. They are all hopeless geeks. When Malcolm gets invited to a drug dealer's birthday party, he gets accidentally thrown into a world he knows nothing about.

3. On the surface, this is a "comedy of errors" movie - no matter what Malcolm does, his situation gets worse. Honestly, the plot is not very realistic. But the plot is not the point. Underneath the comedy and satire, there are some very serious statements being made about race, self-identity, sexuality, and social expectations.

4. The movie is a crazy mashup of cultures - black, white, academic, thug, and musical; it could have ended up being just a messy train wreck that made no sense whatsoever. But writer-director Rick Famuyiwa manages to keep a consistent thread running through it that keeps it together. It also helps that the young stars are very charismatic and believable.

5. While the setting is the low-income, low education level of black ghettos, some of the humor is surprisingly refreshing and intelligent, and will go over the heads of some audience members.

6. The ending of the film could be seen as a little preachy, but it works. They basically summarized the lessons of the film, for those people who couldn't figure it out for themselves.

7. This is the first film I've seen that treated the darknet and bitcoin in a basically realistic way.

8. This is cutting edge popular culture - in 20 years, a lot of kids probably won't understand half the things they're talking about in this movie.

9.  This is a special film that both celebrates, satirizes, and examines contemporary society. Smart and stinging, it doesn't confronts serious issues, but also doesn't make them so sacred that it kills discussion. And trust me, you will want to discuss this film.