Everyone thinks the decade of their formative years was the best decade to live in. I am going to just say it, everyone is wrong, unless you grew up in the nineties, and then well would be correct. If it is not obvious yet, that’s when I came of age, and while living in it, I may have not had the opinion I do now, the further I get from it, the more I realize that that was the time that shaped me. It was the movies, the relationships, and most of all the music, which for me was Hip Hop. There was just a feeling that it gave you, with movies like “House Party” portraying that feeling. The first time I saw the trailer for Rick Famuyiwa’s “Dope” I got excited to feel that feeling again, or would I?
Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is from Inglewood California, a place where a geeky kid who loves nineties hip hop culture doesn’t fit in well. Malcolm hangs around with he friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) as they bond over their love of music and play in their band. Their lives change after going to a underground party and getting caught up in something unknowingly. Faced with the situation they are put in, Malcolm and his friends come up with a plan that will set them free, and put them back on the path their life was on before that faithful night.
As I mentioned before, “Dope” has a trailer that looked like a party you want to be invited to. It starts off fun, but like a real party, it starts to lose it’s luster at about the mid point. It is then that the movie becomes not what the trailer promised, but instead a different film, and changes its mood. While the story, which was written by Famuyiwa as well, stumbles a little as it can’t seem to make up its mind what it wants to be. The performance though don’t suffer, as Moore, Revolori, and Clemons all play their parts perfect and give the movie its life. It is easy to think of what this movie could have been after it ends, but what it is, is still a good movie. I wanted to love it, but my love quickly turned to like, as I watched a movie with sort of an identity crisis. If you look up the word ‘dope’ in the dictionary it has multiple meanings. For the purpose of this review I will choose just one of those meanings, because while I wanted this film to be dope, it is not quite there, but then again it is far from being wack.