Dope Review: 2015’s Best Movie about Drug-Dealing Ghetto Nerds

Dope is about three ghetto nerds living in an area of Compton known as The Bottoms. These ghetto nerds are huge fans of 90s hip-hop and stick out like sore thumbs in present-day Compton. The protagonist ghetto nerd, Malcolm, is invited to a party by drug dealer, Dom, where he winds up with a backpack full of powdered MDMA (molly). Malcolm and his friends decide to sell the molly. This is the primary plot. Malcolm must also balance his college application to Harvard and his budding relationship with a girl named Nakia.

This movie is energetic. Once it starts you are immediately drawn into its world and characters. Sometimes it feels a bit unrealistic but I was willing to suspend my disbelief for this movie. Parts of this movie were really fun. I especially liked Blake Anderson’s hacker/drug dealer persona. Anderson brings enough exaggerated charm to make his character memorable. There’s no need for Anderson’s character to be realistic so he has freedom to make it as wacky as he wants. I would watch a movie based on this character’s life and probably like it more than Dope.

I have only a couple of complaints with this movie. Firstly more could have been done to make Malcolm and his friends more likable. Malcolm, Jib and Diggy are interesting on the surface but I did not get a good sense of their real personalities. This is a problem I have with a lot of movies these days. There’s not enough psychological substance to the characters. Fortunately this movie doesn’t need a lot of psychology because it has so much else going for it. It looks amazing.

I am happy that Dope exists. It’s relevant for dealing with issues of race and unique in its subject matter. There simply are not enough movies dealing with ghetto nerds in present-day Compton, California. Although it was hard for me completely buy in to the movie’s world, I felt it was absolutely worth two hours of my time. This movie can only get a greater following with more online exposure.