White Boy Rick Movie Review

“White Boy Rick” must be the most truthful movie title yet. The main character is white, and yes, he is basically a boy. Oh, and his name is Rick. This is based on a true story. It tells a complex drama of what becomes of a lower middle-class family from Detroit. This is set back in the mid 1980’s, when the American Dream turns into a virtual nightmare for many inner-city people. Many jobs dried up in the city. Yet – guns flowed into the streets, along with crack cocaine. And that result was the set up for this story.

Richard Wershe, Sr. (Matthew McConaughey) lives in a very run-down section of Detroit. His daughter Dawn (Bel Powley) is living with drug addiction. His son Richard Wershe, Jr. (Richie Merritt) is 14 years old, and he works with his dad. Rich (the Senior) does gun sales to make money for the family. Rick (the Junior) goes with him to gun shows. Ricky sometime takes this merchandise to the local black street gang to sell the illegal small arms. The black gang takes a liking to ‘White Boy Rick’, since he has the guts to approach the gang. He becomes an accepted and trusted member.

But there are FBI agents on the horizon (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rory Cochrane, and Brian Tyree Henry). They force Ricky to act as undercover informant to the street gang. It is either that or the Feds will shut down Rich (the Senior) and his semi-legal weapons operation. They also get Ricky into setting up a small side-deal business of distributing crack cocaine. That way, Rickey can get information on the street level dealers, who can lead the FBI up to the top-level distributors. Ricky is in with the gang, he is running his own drug operation and he is still getting orders from the Feds.

But after the big parties and trips to Vegas, there is an incident that comes to a head. The main gang leader (Jonathan Majors) believes that Ricky is really a rat, and he orders up a hit on the young boy. When the bad things all go down, it goes down hard. Ricky survives, and Rich and Ricky have to start over. They also get his sister Dawn out of a drug flophouse and work to get her off the crack. Rich (the Senior) also has his parents who live across the street (Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie). They help out with Dawn and get her back to normal life. Ricky also finds out that he has a new-born daughter.

Ricky feels the need to get back into the drug trade, so he can get some cash flow back into the family. He gets approval from his dad and the rest of the family. Ricky is still only 17, and he has become a big shot in the underground crime network. The FBI comes back to visit, and they are not too happy. Ricky is forced to (again) go undercover and try to get the goods on some of his cocaine contacts. But if he does not help them, he and his family will all face charges. The outcome for ‘White Boy Rick’ does not look good at this time. At his age (17) – he could be sent to prison for life. That would be a lo-o-ong time.

“White Boy Rick” is a thoughtful retelling of Ricky’s true life adventure into the seedy side of life. Matthew McConaughey nails it as a caring father with great intentions and horrible execution. Richie Merritt is very new actor, and he holds his own in the midst of some very talented co-stars. Bel Powley has a very difficult character, but she makes Dawn’s pain and struggle with addiction a real thing. Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie are both good, but wasted in such minor roles.

 

This movie has something to say, but it has trouble picking a single topic. Drugs are bad, no wait, so is inequality in criminal sentencing for blacks versus whites. Guns are trouble for the neighborhood, but crime is commonplace and violent crime is on the rise. The Feds are smart to set up a young white kid as an informant, but no – there is so much police corruption and dirty cops are everywhere. To reduce crime, get tough on criminals, but wait – mandatory sentencing is bad…

So the acting is superb, but the story bobs and weaves and never chooses a single lane.

 

American-Animals-movie-screening

American Animals Advance Movie Screening

Movie Screening Summary

The extraordinary and thrilling true story of four friends living an ordinary existence who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history. But not everything is as it seems, and as the daring theft unfolds through each of their perspectives, each of them start to question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives is simply a misguided attempt at achieving the American Dream.

AMERICAN ANIMALS
Release: June 8
Studio: The Orchard
Genre: Crime/Drama
Director: Bart Layton
Writer: Bart Layton
Cast: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier
Rating: R
Runtime: 116 min

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Advance Movie Screening For AMERICAN ANIMALS

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Phoenix, Arizona

Advance Movie Screening Details

Movie Screening Date: Tuesday, June 5
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Movie Screening Time: 7:00pm
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