For us who grew up in the 80´s, we remember the year of 1984 for different reasons. For me personally i remember this year for a couple of reasons. This was the year when legendary director James Cameron released his cult classic The Terminator that made Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the biggest action stars of the 80´s. This was also the year when comedian Eddie Murphy made his first Beverly Hills Cop movie as Axel Foley, and the only really good movie of the 3 movies he made in this franchise. Of course we have to mention that this was the year when the first ( and best ) Ghostbusters was released from director Ivan Reitman. I actually watched Ghostbusters just a couple of days ago on TV during Christmas, it is still a damn good film. Maybe the cast made this film magical, but i also feel that director Ivan Reitman managed to combine comedy and the supernatural in a very solid combination. 1984 was also the year when British rock band Queen released their studio album The Works, a much better album than their odd release Hot Space ( perhaps their worst album if you ask me ). The Works proved that Queen have found their way back to what they knew best, making great rock songs for all ages. I also remember the U2 album The Unforgettable Fire that was released this year. A classic U2 album, where especially the single Pride ( In The Name Of Love ) can still be appreciated even today. The 80´s was a special time, and plenty of movies have portrayed this time period. And it seems that more directors are trying to go back to this time period in recent years, and i am pleased to see that people want to experience this time period. One movie that really affected me personally, that took place during the 80´s, is the drama movie known as Dallas Buyers Club from director Jean-Marc Valleé. A very sad and emotional movie, based on the true story of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof ( played brilliant by actor Matthew McConaughey ). There are not many movies that have made me felt tears coming down my eyes in a Cinema, but this film did. It is both really powerful, and tell a story that needs to be told. Speaking of actor Matthew McConaughey, he have really made some solid films over the years. The Lincoln Lawyer, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud, The Wolf Of Wall Street and Interstellar. Since he did some terrible ones in the past, it seems that he have moved on and chosen quality films instead. I got a chance to see his latest movie called White Boy Rick, based on the true story of Richard Wershe Jr, who became the youngest FBI informant ever. Is this a really solid crime drama, or is this a film that has nothing interesting to offer the audience ?
Detroit, 1984. A city where drug sales are growing and more people are becoming junkees. A young man known as Rick Werse Jr ( also known as White Boy Rick ) is making a name on the streets. He arrange gun sales, and is ready to make some more money. After some problems with the law, Rick agrees to be an undercover police informant inside the world of drug sales. His father Richard Werse Jr ( Matthew McConaughey ) is also a well known criminal, who is trying to stay out of problems. But he is worried his son will end up dead, while his daughter Dawn Wershe ( Bel Powley ) is stuck in a heavy drug addiction. Will Rick found a way out of this life, or is he forever stuck inside the world of criminals ?
When you make a criminal drama, you can go the easy way and just make everything look exactly the same as many similar films. The good news is that White Boy Rick actually does manage to tell an interesting story, while trying to balance the typical criminal characters. This film could have easily just told the story without any depth, but the good thing is that this film actually have interesting characters. I especially enjoy Matthew McConaughey as the father Richard Werse Sr, a man who have a passion about guns and money but don´t know how to raise his son and daughter in a positive way. But you can tell he wants to help them, for the years he spend doing criminal activities. The character known as White Boy Rick is played by young actor Richie Merritt. I think he does a good job portraying a young man, who clearly have no plans for the future. It is sad seeing such a young man throwing his life away selling drugs and guns, when he is about to become a father for the first time. But i have to say, one of the most strong performances in this film, comes from actress Bel Powley as Ricky´s sister Dawn. She is a drug addict who clearly is out of control, and Bel Powley give exactly the right kind of performance for her character, to make her feel realistic. I am so happy to see actor RJ Cycler here ( who did a great performance in the latest movie adaptation of Power Rangers ), as the character Rudell " Boo " Curry, a young criminal who hangs out with Ricky. He proves once again why he is such a talented young actor, and i hope to see him do a lead role in the future. Even if this film is based on the true story about Richard Werse Jr, i find this film more interesting when we get to see the father Richard trying to help his kids. This is where the film becomes emotional, especially one scene when you seen him carrying his daughter Dawn out of a house completely worn out of drugs. And the performance that Bel Powley gives here as a junkee, hits you right in the face. The FBI investigation surrounding Richard is not the most interesting part of the film, it is the story surrounding this family who is clearly torn apart from criminality and drugs. Director Yann Demange is perhaps most known for his powerful drama thriller ´71, the story of an abandoned solider in the middle of riots in Belfast, in the early 70´s. A really good drama film, and very solid performances from the cast as well. I don´t think White Boy Rick holds up on the same film quality as ´71, but is still a great criminal drama. If you enjoy watching films based on true stories, give White Boy Ricky a chance. This is a film that actually might make you think about why family is important, and why a life in crime is a life full of misery.