Dope (2015) Spoiler-Free Review

One of the more noticeable films at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival is a coming-of-age story about a trio of geeky teenagers living in Inglewood, California, obsessed with 90’s hip hop culture and trying to navigate their way through a series of really unfortunate events involving partying, drugs and gangsters. This is Dope… Literally.

I heard about this film as most people do these days: on the internet. But even more poetically, in the comments section of a music video that has nothing to do with the movie Dope. I then watched the trailer and the tone, humour and most importantly, the music got to me. I was sold.

Dope 1

As a big fan of Go and Superbad, two films to which Dope is compared, I found this film to be incredibly fresh and “feel-good” if ever there were a more 90’s way of describing it. This is fitting of course because of the numerous references to 90’s hip hop and punk rock culture.

Dope follows straight A student and geek Malcolm who dreams of going to Harvard. He thinks his troubled life is a cliché and has big ambitions. But he also feels like he was born too late, rocking a flattop and clothing that made you believe he got in one little fight and his mom got scared and said… You see where I’m going with this.

Malcolm’s best friends are also very much geeks. Diggy is a boy girl, a lesbian and a badass drummer, while Jib is 14% African (Ancestry.com bitch) and looks a lot like that Zero kid from Grand Budapest Hotel – plot twist, that’s totally him. They get roped into a whirlwind adventure that Malcolm finds himself in, where they have to rely on their wits and each other, to get themselves out of trouble.

Dope 4

Some performances that really impressed me, include Shameik Moore (Malcolm), Tony Revolori (Jib) and Kiersey Clemons (Diggy), who are really believable as a group of lovable, geeky misfits. Also, Forest Whitaker, who produced the film, is the familiar voice narrating the film.

Let’s talk about the real star of the film, the soundtrack. Of course the film was going to have some really dope throwbacks with featured acts such as Naughty By Nature, A Tribe Called Quest and Nas. But then there are original tracks produced by Pharrell Williams and performed by Awreeoh.

So to sum up: Dope is a really upbeat, deep and nostalgic film that had a little bit of romance, humour, adult content and jamming.

Rating: Dope/10

Check out the trailer below (the thumbnail has a chick unzipping her top, why are you still reading this???)

Dean Ravell

Aspiring writer/director. Fascinated with all kinds of film and just wants to be part of the wonderful world of cinema. #AlmostFamous

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