Grab a coming-of-age film with 3 innocent teens, slap an R (MA15+) rating on it and you get this fucking ‘dope’ film. Dope is easily one of the most interesting and by far unique films of the last few years. You go in expecting one thing, and come out of it getting something far from what you wanted. Usually that would be a bad thing, but this film was so intelligent and different that you can’t help but leave with a smile on your face. I was expecting some sort of run of the mill coming-of-age comedy after seeing the trailer, but the film is much more complex than that, incorporating lots of themes and ideas that make you think while also keeping up the fun entertainment the whole way through. It was just a really refreshing thing to see in a world where most films today are just borrowing from other successful films. This movie has fantastic performances, an entertaining and fun plot that takes turns you never expect, and a great visual style that makes this stand out on its own in the Coming-Of-Age film genre.
Lets talk about these performances shall we, because these are three that will most likely get severely overlooked this year but i don’t think it is the last we have heard of some of these actors. Your main guy Shameik Moore did an incredible job at playing Malcolm, this teenager who is trying to keep in line with school and college whilst all of these problems come his way that force him to be someone more than just the geek. He was great at conveying that this guy really wants to do good in the world but sometimes things happen that force you to act against your own instincts. He handled the serious intense scenes well, he delivered so great on the comedy and has definitely opened the door on his movie career. The other great performance was Tony Revolori who was so funny and witty and played his character well. I loved him in last years ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ so i had no doubt he would be great in this and he did not disappoint. His character could very easily been the dopey side character who is only around for comic relief but he proved to be an integral part of the film. But my favourite performance had to be by Kiersey Clemons who absolutely killed it in what is her breakout roll. She brought so much life and personality not only to her character but also to the film and made it infinitely more funny and entertaining. I can’t wait to see her in more things because i loved her in this.
Lets talk about the plot, storytelling and structure of this film because it was mostly very very well made and told. I have to give a load of credit to the writers of this film because the plot for this film did not go in any direction i could’ve thought of in a million years. It was so engaging and there was a sense of urgency to the film, like, you always are wanting to know what will happen next and where the film is going to take you. Incredible writing that worked really really well. While i was watching the film i wasn’t so thrilled with the first 15 minutes or so, i felt that it was taking too long to introduce these characters and showing things that didn’t look like they were leading anywhere. But by the end of the film, everything about the beginning pays off, you get this very interesting before and after that incorporates some interesting themes about being yourself and thats where the film does great at incorporating some positive messages.
The film got a little patchy at times, where it was kind of dwelling on one thing when i wanted to move on to see what was going on with something else, but that was very quick and minor and didn’t hurt it that much. In the end, this film was full of awesome, refreshing ideas that took the coming-of-age genre i love to new heights. Packed with comedy, some well used action, as well as incorporating crime and drama elements, this really was a complete package and is an indie film you should definitely check out and have a ‘dope’ ride. – 8.4