Film review: Dope

DOPE: Shameik Moore as Malcolm and Zoe Kravitz as Nakia. Picture credit: PA Photo/Rachel Morrison/Open Road Films.
DOPE: Shameik Moore as Malcolm and Zoe Kravitz as Nakia. Picture credit: PA Photo/Rachel Morrison/Open Road Films.
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  • Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
  • Certificate: 15
  • Running time: 103 mins
  • Star rating: 8/10
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Debut is one Dope flick

Writer-director Rick Famuyiwa’s coming-of-age comedy drama is a crime caper about a trio of nerdy students, who rally against the drug dealers in their rundown California neighbourhood known as ‘The Bottoms’.

The unlikely heroes might lack street savvy and killer instinct, but they have resourcefulness and youthful exuberance in abundance.

It’s this ability to think outside the box which propels the likeable characters on their madcap misadventures and provides Famuyiwa’s feature with its wry humour and unabashedly heartfelt sense of optimism.

Snappy camerawork and Lee Haugen’s terrific editing invest the visuals with vibrancy and kinetic energy, while the soundtrack is a feast old and new, plus original songs by Pharrell Williams.

At the heart of the film is a winning performance from Shameik Moore as a straight-A student denied an Ivy League college education simply because of his upbringing.