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White Boy Rick (2018)

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The story of teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

Director:

Yann Demange
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1,658 ( 327)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Richard Wershe Sr.
Richie Merritt ... Rick Wershe Jr.
Bel Powley ... Dawn Wershe
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... FBI Agent Snyder
Brian Tyree Henry ... Detective Jackson
Rory Cochrane ... FBI Agent Byrd
RJ Cyler ... Rudell 'Boo' Curry
Jonathan Majors ... Johnny 'Lil Man' Curry
Eddie Marsan ... Art Derrick
Taylour Paige ... Cathy Volsan-Curry
Bruce Dern ... Grandpa Roman 'Ray' Wershe
Piper Laurie ... Grandma Verna Wershe
Raekwon Haynes Raekwon Haynes ... Edwin 'Nugg' Crutcher
Ishmael Ali Ishmael Ali ... 'Freaky Steve' Roussell (as Ishmael 'Ishdarr' Ali)
James Howard ... Chief Homicide Inspector Hill
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Storyline

Set in 1980s Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs, WHITE BOY RICK is based on the moving story of a blue-collar father and his teenage son, Rick Wershe Jr., who became an undercover police informant and later a drug dealer, before he was abandoned by his handlers.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Witness the rise of America's youngest hustler, dealer, kingpin, informant, legend. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references, and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

White Boy Rick See more »

Filming Locations:

Cleveland, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,860,431, 16 September 2018

Gross USA:

$24,011,188
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matthew McConaughey and Rory Cochrane previously starred together in Dazed and Confused (1993). See more »

Goofs

Rick offers his friend a "soda", but in Detroit, carbonated beverages are called "pop". See more »

Quotes

Johnny 'Lil Man' Curry: [after an arranged hit has gone wrong] Leon wasn't even in the motherfuckin' HOUSE!
See more »


Soundtracks

Out of the Dark
Written and Performed by Max Richter
Courtesy of Milan Records
Published by Mute Song Ltd. and Rough Trade Publishing
By arrangement with Bank Robber Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Streamlined, Yet Effective Film
12 September 2018 | by kjproulxSee all my reviews

Although there is just more content being made today than in any other decade in history, it does seem like films based on a true story have become even more prominent throughout the medium. Not knowing much about this particular story, known as White Boy Rick, I went into this film not truly knowing where it would end up, but still managed to feel a little unsatisfied with it as a whole. There are many biopics out there that handle material in a unique way, but everything about this film feels safe. While the story itself is quite fascinating and the character of Rickie enjoyable to watch, I can't help but reflect on the fact that this film strayed as far away from taking risks as it possibly could have. Here's why I believe White Boy Rick is an enjoyable film to watch, but won't really surpass anyone's expectations of it.

Being an insider for the FBI, White Boy Rick follows young Rick Wershe Jr., played by Richie Merritt in his breakout role, as he dives deeper and deeper into the crime of drug trafficking, becoming too involved for his own good. Since stories like this have been told before, I was hoping for something a little more interesting in terms of structure, but it really just feels like a series of events and set pieces that will eventually lead him to his eventual downfall. There is a through-line that gives this film a beginning and an end, but it really just feels like a character progression and evolution, rather than a film that has been structured as three acts. This was a little disappointing, considering the plot itself could've shown a slightly darker side. This is where the movie started to lose me a little.

Although the story is meant to be light-hearted in most moments (due to the nature of this crazy story), there are quite a few dramatically effective scenes to go along with them, but it almost felt like the movie was getting a little too serious for the writers, so they had to take away from some of the emotion by adding jokes. The best portions of this movie are when Rick is having a great time with his "friends" and hanging out at the roller rink or breaking laws. This is what the movie needed more of, but the family dynamic is a little too prevalent in my opinion. White Boy Rick needed a better balance between its storylines, but maybe that's just me.

On top of everything, I think the most disappointing aspect of this movie is the fact that everything feels very standard in terms of filmmaking. From the editing to the direction, to the score and songs throughout the movie, it all felt very formulaic. I felt like I was watching a movie that kept wanting to take risks but decided to play it safe in order to appeal to the real people involved, as well as appealing to the masses. That being said, for a movie that relies heavily on family, the performances need to be top-notch. Otherwise, it would fall apart.

Matthew McConaughey gives one of his best efforts in a while and a particular scene actually had me in tears. This really shouldn't come as a surprise, though, seeing as everyone expects him to bring a lot to the table nowadays. Newcomer Richie Merritt is the one to talk about, however. While his performance isn't something that people will be talking about for decades to come, this was quite the impressive first impression. The actor himself has had experiences like this film's premise throughout his childhood, so maybe that added to his talent here, but I'd say look out for his future work.

In the end, White Boy Rick has a stellar cast and a talented crew across the board, but it never feels like it's trying to impress or surprise. This is a series of events that lead up to today's current state, and while the story itself is very interesting and makes for a very enjoyable movie, it doesn't have the energy that it promised from its trailers. This is a very slow-moving film, with a great story and fine execution of every technical aspect. White Boy Rick is a good time at the movies, but I don't believe it's a must-see.


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