Dope feels like a film directed by a young Spike Lee and written by Coming to America era Eddie Murphy. This is to say Dope is a great film. There is no ifs or buts – this one is well worth your time.
The film is directed by someone I had never heard of (Rick Famuyiwa) and stars a young diverse cast who you’ve probably seen in some obscure movies and Netflix shows, but you’d never be able to name if your life depended on it. Except Zoe Kravitz – I damn sure know who Zoe Kravitz is. Oh, and a deceptively funny A$AP Rocky. Oh yeh, and an out of place Tyga.
In a nutshell, Dope is about a trio of geeky minority kids getting caught up in some gangster shit, as they prepare for the SAT exams (I think the equivalent in the UK are A Levels).
What you have here is just over an hour and half of a very well acted and very well directed comedy film, with a healthy helping of social commentary and a dash of the absurd. I kid you not, at times Dope feels like a black Carry On film.
This film not only reference many of Eddie’s Spike’s joints, but Famuyiwa has taken a lot of influence from Ice Cube’s Friday series. And then in the middle of Dope breaks out a Oceans 11-like crime caper. What I am trying to say is that there is a lot here.
Although Dope more than doubled it’s budget at the box office, I feel it has been shortchanged. As far as I am aware, it never got a worldwide release. I get the thinking, a lot of the references in the film are American, but I feel that the world of mouth on this film could have helped it to do monster numbers. Hip-hop exports very well around the world.
Dope is a fantastic film and like Chris Rock’s Top Five before it, it shows that black film is alive and well.