Dope  is one of the most buzzed about films out of 2015’s Sundance Film Festival and it tells the tale of teenage geek Malcolm (Shameik Moore). After a birthday party at a drug dealer’s house goes bad (imagine that, right?), Malcolm and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) have to dodge gangs and dealers all while trying to keep their futures intact.
Throwback Thursday. The film, along with its main characters, love and reference 90’s culture quite a bit while maintaining some modern sensibilities. It features a killer soundtrack and has some cameos from a few very famous rappers with A$AP Rocky being the standout. However, in trying to be modern and hip, the film does come off as pandering at times. We get it, Bitcoin is a thing!
One man show. The film really spends most of its time focusing on Malcolm: his future, his romantic prospects, and his life on the line. He has all of the spotlight leaving the characters of Jib and Diggy on the sidelines with little character development. Malcolm starts off as a likable nerd and while his arc is funny and interesting, he does some unsavory stuff over the course of the movie and this may make audiences question why they should be rooting for this guy.
Are these kids orphans? The film never shows or even mentions the parents or guardians of the three leads. Since they’re all in high school, one could assume that they still live at home, but there are no role models in their lives that are presented in the movie. Malcolm gets caught up in some illegal and dangerous stuff and, on his own accord mind you, exacerbates the issue by extending it. There is no moral presence to guide the characters so it’s hard to relate sometimes while these kids are doing illegal activities and may or may not (no spoilers here) get away with them.
It doesn’t live up to the festival hype but it’s still worth checking out.