Review: Dope (2015)

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Dope has accrued tremendous buzz along the festival circuit, but it’s not quite the all-out, convention exploding master stroke many have it pegged as. Malcolm (Shameik Moore) has college in his sights, determined not to let his rough upbringing hold him back. But when a party leaves him in possession of drugs, he must think quick before his life is ruined. Crisp and fast-paced thanks to an energetic pace, Dope oozes with spirit. The direction matches the films upbeat feel; the score and performances making for some effortlessly entertaining flashes. But it’s weightlessness proves an issue when the script veers into pep talk territory. Its preachy tendencies, particularly towards the end (at one point the script has Malcolm lecture directly into the camera), contradict – and even hurt – its otherwise breezy charm. Dope is a fine film when its fun, but then its too fun to be anything serious, which poses a problem.

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