“Dope” – Review:

This movie is taking the festival circus by storm. In 2013 it was Fruitvale Station, last year it was Whiplash. Dope like Fruitvale is an African American centric cast and is set in the ghetto, and overcoming the environment and situation, that the characters are thrown into. Dope was nominated for the Gran Jury Prize this year at Sundance. That usually will be a good indicator to what movies will be in the mix come awards season. I expect this one to be in the thick of it.

Dope centers around Malcom (Shameik Moore). He and his two friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) are 90’s Hip-Hop geeks. Malcom is a very smart student, straight A’s and he really stays in his circle of friends. When he is invited to an underground birthday party his life is turned upside down.

The journey this film takes you on is really spectacular. When it starts Dope is a straight up comedy about three friends in high school trying to just make it through and escape from the hood. Once the events at the party take place the film turns into a thriller almost. Malcom is put in a compromising position that forced him to go down a different path than the one he was set on. He reluctantly has to become the stereotype that comes with the area he’s from. That’s all I can divulge because I don’t want to spoil anything, but you just have to take my word for it. This film is amazing. It’s directed beautifully. Bright and vivid, it makes LA it’s own character. Rick Famuyiwa did a great job writing and directing this film. You root for Malcom throughout and you just want him to succeed and get out of the situation he’s in. The jokes really hit, belly busting laughs at some points.

The music is phenomenal. A lot of 90’s rap and it makes you want to go listen to the soundtrack. The score and soundtrack are like a character of its own.

All in all Dope is a funny, dramatic, coming of age film, that will have you tapping your foot and clapping at the end. I know I did.

7/10

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