MIFF Review - Dope
Words - Evan Mery @dream_offal
Photos - Courtesy of MIFF
MIFF Review - Dope
Important advice guys, never drive into the city area on a Friday night. Running from Fitzroy to Exhibition street isn't the most ideal way to start an evening. As I arrived at the Comedy Theatre I looked like I had just completed a marathon, but my state of discomfort was without a doubt worth the pain as Dope may just be the most fun I've had at the cinema this year.
Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa, Dope tells the story of Malcolm and his two best pals Diggy and Jib as they traverse the chaotic life of high school and their drug/crime riddled neighbourhood of Inglewood, California. All three are unashamedly nerds, they do exceptionally well in class, and the film's protagonist, Malcolm, has big dreams of attending Harvard. They also dig 90s culture especially rap music from that era, which creates a super excellent inspired soundtrack for the film.
During one of their typical days for the trio which usually involves being picked on at school, jamming in with their instruments, and dodging gangs on their way home, Malcolm befriends a local drug dealer played by A$AP Rocky (who is basically playing a heightened version of his own self). This leads the trio to an underground party where Malcolm is sent on an adventure full of questionable choices, offbeat characters and all the while telling one hell of an entertaining coming of-age story.
Simply put, Dope is up there with this year's best. It's damn funny, at times touching without being overly sentimental, and has one hell of a message about following your dreams. By the way, have I mentioned how good the actor who plays Malcolm is? This is one of the first leading roles in a feature film for Shameik Moore and he nails it. If you missed the chance to see Dope at MIFF don't fret, wait a couple of months and it will most likely hit wide or limited release.