Dope - Review

Dope (2015) – BALINALE Review

Writer-director Rick Famuyiwa delivers an offbeat comedy in his fast-paced coming-of-age crime-caper Dope. Colourful and stuffed with pop cultural reference, Dope is an euphoric showcase of a dope who deals with another “dope”.

Set in a tough LA neigbourhood, Dope follows an Afro-American student, Malcolm (Shameik Moore)—a straight-A geek who’s obsessed to the 90s hip-hop culture and to enroll in Harvard. Malcolm loves to hang out with his two buddies, Jib (The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), playing in a punk-rap band, rides bikes and skates together.

Going to a wrong side of the road leads them to something larger than life. Encounters with Nakia (Zoë Kravitz) and her boyfriend leads the three guys to a party-gone-south where shootout breaks. Left with a bunch of drugs and a gun on his backpack, Malcolm goes through an adventure to renounce his geek identity to find a deeper meaning of being himself.

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Fusing enticing elements of the millennials era—through the neat use of iPhones, bitcoins, social media montage, and many other—with colors of the 90s, Dope conceals its menace beautifully under the disguise of gleeful, vibrant color palette and likeable characters.
Surprisingly, it’s pretty congested as an indie feature; stuffs like tongue-in-cheek jokes about the use of N-word, college-application etiquette, LGBT sentiments, et al, find many ways to be manifested.

The underdog casts turn out unravelling an offbeat prowess to the film. Stellar performance from star-on-the-making Shameik Moore and his comrades promises solid, sympathetic chemistry between all the likeable characters. Tony Revolori continues his charm in The Grand Budapest Hotel as another quirky guy and Kiersey Clemons gives depth to her ambiguous character.

Though there’s a moment when Dope, seemingly, confuses how to convey what it really means due to its convoluted plot during the middle act, Dope still has the fun to present it. In addition, the third act is a bit preachy but it can finally contain everything that precedes it.

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My verdict, Dope is a fun highway to connect the 90s spirit to a millennial lifestyle. As it embraces nitty gritty of coming-of-age charm with piles of ideas to depict the tough neighborhood in LA, it shows a rebellious identity musing—about how people should be judged. With star-making performance from Shameik Moore, Dope is a fun joyride with too much things to tell.

Dope (2015)

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Comedy, Crime, Drama Written & Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa Starred by: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Zoë Kravitz Runtime: 103 mins Rated R for language, drug content, sexuality/nudity, and some violence-all involving teens

IMDb | Official Site


Sutradara sekaligus penulis naskah Rick Famuyiwa menghadirkan sebuah komedi offbeat dalam kombinasi coming-of-age dan crime terbarunya, Dope.

Dipenuhi warna-warni dan berbagai referensi pop culture, Dope tampil mengesankan sebagai film yang benar-benar mendefinisikan berbagai makna “dope” dalam Bahasa Inggris.

Bersetting di daerah paling keras di L.A., Dope berkisah tentang pelajar Afro-American, Malcolm (Shameik Moore)—geek jenius dengan deretan nilai A yang terobsesi dengan budaya hip-hop 90-an serta Harvard. Malcolm bersahabat dengan Jib (Tony Revolori dari The Grand Budapest Hotel) dan Diggy (Kiersey Clemons); bersama mereka membentuk band punk-rap serta bersepeda dan skateboard bersama.

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Suatu hari, pertemuan dengan Nakia (Zoë Kravitz) dan kekasihnya justru menggiring mereka ke sebuah pesta yang tak terbayangkan. Pasca pesta, Malcolm malah menemukan narkoba dan senapan di tasnya; dua jenis benda yang membawanya masuk ke dalam petualangan yang tak hanya mengubah label ‘geek’nya namun juga memberi makna baru bagi dirinya.

Memadukan elemen modern era millennial—dengan penggunaan iPhone, bitcoin, montase jejaring sosial dan lainnya—dengan warna-warni khas 90-an, Dope menutupi ancamannya dengan cantik di balik keceriaan visual dan karakternya yang likeable. Surprisingly, film ini cukup padat juga; berbagai gagasan seperti lelucon tentang penggunaan N-word, etika melamar universitas, sentimen LGBT dsb, mempunyai porsi yang signifikan dalam progress ceritanya.

Para pemeran underdognya ternyata mampu memberikan warna lain bagi film ini. Acting cemerlang debutan, Shameik Moore, membuktikan kapasitasnya sebagai pendatang baru yang harus diperhatikan. Tony Revolori mampu melanjutkan kecemerlangannya di The Grand Budapest Hotel sementara Kiersey Clemons mampu menampilkan sisi ambiguitas karakter tomboy-nya.

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Meskipun ada kalanya Dope kedodoran untuk menyampaikan maksud aslinya karena kebanyakan ide, Dope tetap tampil urakan dalam mencoba menyampaikannya. Sama sekali tak kehilangan pesona. Babak ketiganya sedikit berceramah, tapi berhasil menyimpulkan “nilai” yang ingin ditekankan.

Kesimpulan akhirnya, Dope adalah highway yang menghubungkan semangat 90-an dengan gaya hidup millennial. Dengan penampilan mengesankan Moore dkk, Dope berhasil menjadi joyride yang padat namun tetap seru.


This Dope review is written by Paskalis Damar. Review film Dope ini diterjemahkan ke dalam Bahasa Indonesia oleh Paskalis Damar. Film ini ditayangkan dalam BALINALE 2015.

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