Dope film. Image by: Rick Famuyiwa / YouTube
Dope film. Image by: Rick Famuyiwa / YouTube

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Written by: Matthew McGuire

Dope, a film by Rick Famuyiwadisplays the life of a group of teenagers coming to age in downtown Los Angeles.


The film originally opened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year with a warm reception.

Pharrell Williams wrote and helped produced sections of the film including: four tracks for Dope, that are performed by the film’s fictional garage band. Additional producers: Michael Y. Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, David Lonner, Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi.

A$AP Rocky made is on screen debut as a drug dealer known as Dom. It would have been more fulfilling to have seen A$AP Rocky play more of a protagonist character that would lead the main character, Shameik Moore to better decisions.

A conflict in the film shows the struggle young people go through in underdeveloped areas of the world. There is ways to get ahead, and there is ways to pull yourself down.

In addition to the unnecessary use of handguns, I felt that this film glorified bad decisions.

It did little to nothing to show the real dangers of the drugs being sold during the film. I felt that it was going for a more entertaining approach, rather than teach the next generation of young people the pitfalls to making bad decisions.

The cinematography and editing in Dope creates the distinct vibe and feeling that Los Angeles embodies overall. It reminded of Pulp Fiction.

On one hand, I get sick of seeing guns in almost every domestic film I watch. On another hand, this film takes place within inner city Los Angeles. It would lack some authenticity to not show guns, but it would also be creative to show a world without them.

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noun: dope; plural noun: dopes
  1. 1.
    a drug taken illegally for recreational purposes, especially marijuana or heroin.
    • a drug given to a racehorse or greyhound to inhibit or enhance its performance.
    • a drug taken by an athlete to improve performance.
      “he failed a dope test”
  2. 2.
    a stupid person.
    “though he wasn’t an intellectual giant, he was no dope, either”
  3. 3.
    information about a subject, especially if not generally known.
    “our reviewer will give you the dope on hot spots around the town”


adjective: dope
  1. 1.
    very good.
    “that suit is dope!”
early 19th century (in the sense ‘thick liquid’): from Dutch doop ‘sauce,’ from doopen ‘to dip, mix.’


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Sundance Film Festival | US Dramtic Special Jury Award: Excellence in Editing 

Dope Movie Twitter Feed

Film News

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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.