Dope explodes with a burst of vibrant and joyful energy…
This coming of age tale brims with such charismatic charm that you find yourself willingly overlooking its flaws in favour of its contagious lead performances, editing and narrative. The film starts out as a pretty run of the mill situation with three geeks who stick out at school due to their obsession with 90’s hip hop acts. They spend their time trying to avoid bullies at school and violent gangs in their troubled neighborhood and just as you think you know where this is going everything spins off in a completely different direction when they stumble upon an unexpected, unwanted and dangerous package.
There’s a lot going on in this movie and it doesn’t always hit home quite right. For every five times it is laugh out loud funny, there’s one misjudged joke which doesn’t really connect,for all of its playing around with genre and style there are some elements that feel forced and when it loses its confidence at the end and tries to make a larger point about race and stereotypes it loses the ball completely. These signs of its insecurity are disappointing but do not overshadow what is mostly a really fun and exciting film. It’s three lead cast members (Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons and Tony Revolori) all deliver bucket loads of skill, comedy and charisma in their roles and make their characters light up the screen. If there is any justice we should expect to see lots more of these three over the next few years.
Early on into the film I began to think that this could be something rather special, but its occasional tone-deafness combined with a slight lack of confidence in itself winds up undermining it in the end. It’s still a lot of fun and I am going to enjoy revisiting it over the years, but it doesn’t quite reach the highs it could have.
Dope is released on DVD in the UK on January 4th and is also currently available on Digital HD. Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment section below!