A film that has done the rounds at this year’s film festivals already, this looks like it has to making to be a strong, feel good teen movie with a twist. Whether it will entice people to the cinemas is a different story.
Dope stars film rookie Shameik Moore as Malcolm, a geeky kid with dreams of Harvard who has quietly lived his life in his dangerous neighbourhood, filled with gangsters and drug-dealers. After getting a chance invitation to an underground party, he meets characters that shake up his quiet and sensible life, and turn him from geek to ‘dope’.
This does look like a pretty cool movie! It’s an interesting twist on the over-saturated teen school movie, and the trailer has hints of Scott Pilgrim in it. In fact I see this in much the same light as the cult classic. The strength of the cast is quite varied, with respected actors Tony Revolori (Grand Budapest Hotel) and Zoë Kravitz (X-Men, Divergent) playing roles and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker narrating the film. On the other side you have Shameik Moore, whose previous work in film was a minor role in Joyful Noise, and a major role in Cartoon Network’s Incredible Crew, a TV sketch show that has been rated 3.8 on IMDB – although some say that’s down to older people not understanding Cartoon Networks humour, and the acting is meant to be solid.
Dope is written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa. He is a fairly unique director, in the sense that he has only directed films that he has written, and has only written one film for another director. Famuyiwa has written and directed 5 films including Dope, however his last film – Our Family Wedding (2010), also starring Forest Whitaker – tanked in the box office and with the people, rating 4.8 on IMDB.
This film could literally be anything, and chances are it will be different things to different people. Some will love the apparent chilled out nature, and the classy yet cheeky feel of the movie. Whereas others will turn their noses up at a seemingly cocky, run of the mill, happy-go-lucky teen movie. I personally see this following a similar path to Scott Pilgrim – it might not be something people run to the cinemas to see, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we were talking about this next year as being a classic teen movie! We just need to give this one time. That also means that it will probably not make that big of a splash at the box office.