White Boy Rick
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, YG
Based on a true story this crime drama about a disreputable blue-collar Detroit-dwelling dad and his son unfolds during the height of the 80s war on drugs, where desperate police would use any means necessary to secure arrests. McConaughey, sporting a formidable mullet and ‘tache combo, is Richard Wersche Snr, a lowlife skirting the edges of the law running a gun-selling business. His fourteen-year-old son, Rick, who is friends with the local African American drug dealers, is recruited by FBI agent Snyder (Leigh) to take part in a series of stings, visiting local dealers to buy drugs after which they are busted. Later the ruthless agents supply the teen with crack cocaine to sell. Soon Rick has ingratiated himself with the local formidable Curry Crew, fronted by Leo ‘Big Man’ Curry (rapper YG) and his son (wait for it) ‘Lil Man’. The picture prioritises gritty depictions of the Detroit environs over narrative focus and thrust, but the depiction of working class life, particularly McConaughey’s over-the-top performance, borders on the cartoonish. Despite his prowess as a drug dealer and informant, who, it turns out, the FBI were willing to throw to the wolves when the whim took them, Rick comes across as a rather dull character, rendering the picture a little heavy going over a two-hour running time, while the plot trajectory is way overfamiliar.