Dope: A Generation Speaks

Malcolm and his friends are major geeks of 90’s hip/hop culture. God bless the costume designer for Dope who had their work cut out for them. Photo Courtesy: Open Road Films, LLC

By Taylor C. Berrier

How often does a movie come along in which it claims to offer a message to the entire youth of a nation? How often does one claim to speak on behalf of an often marginalized youth who all too often sees a world overly draped in grey and hypocrisy. Dope takes on this difficult task and offers itself as the posterhead for an entire generation.

Malcolm, played by Shameik Moore, is a senior in high school with aspirations to attend Harvard, and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal. Little does he know, he must fold to society’s demands and learn along the way that growing up means learning that responsibility has many grey areas.

Malcolm’s best friends, Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jibb (Tony Revolori), follow him along his adventurous quest to subdue the meaning of life and the reality that confronts him. When not trying to solve how they will overcome the main dilemma, they are rocking out musically, brilliantly adding to the movie’s score, an attentive move by the movies directors and producers, which is very obvious after you find out Pharrell Williams is an executive producer and Sean “Diddy” Combs is a co-executive producer. After all, it may be that music is what can help define this generation.

Director Rick Famuyiwa is also credited for the writing. The story that is presented in the movie follows a very simplistic plotline familiar in much of today’s youthful cinema like in Superbad or Project X, but manages to stand out and alone in it’s morally-at-odds development and twisting of how the story plays out. Dope might not have a humongous presence in the box office rankings, but it will make a splash in the hearts and minds in every one who sees it.

Not only is the story interesting, the actor’s chemistry dynamic, and the soundtrack culturally prevalent, but Dope is able to provide answers to questions many have asked one higher power or the other sometime in their life, authoritatively or spiritually; much philosophy and rhetoric can be found subtly in the subtext and blatantly in the context. We aren’t always allowed to chose the path with the least resistance. Sometimes we are forced to take the beaten narrow path in which we become lost in the distraught, grey area of reality that looms over it.

Go see Dope, in theaters this weekend, and ask yourself, “What would you do if you were Malcolm?”

Check out the official trailer of Dope below: