Dope, Rick Famuyiwa’s latest film, centers on Malcolm and his friends Jib and Diggy, misfit teens obsessed with 90s hip-hop in their notoriously dangerous city of Inglewood, California. One day after school, Malcolm meets Dom, a drug dealer, who invites him to his birthday party, a change from Malcolm’s school-centered lifestyle. At the party, chaos ensues as rival gang members interrupt Dom’s molly transactions in the back room. The next day, Malcolm walks through the security checkpoint at his school to find out Dom had quickly stuffed the molly into his backpack at the party. Thus begins Malcolm and his friends’ adventure as different people are trying to get the drugs from them. This movie deals with racial stereotypes and the social dynamics in high school, especially in rougher neighborhoods, with the pressures of good and evil as influencers. In the movie, Malcolm is under the pressure of applying to colleges, with his sights set on Harvard, but his circumstances and critics present an obstacle. The movie ends with Malcolm writing his college admission essay, which addresses all of these themes and ends with a thought provoking-line that relates to our society today. I thought this movie nicely blended important topics such as the corruption of youth and racism with interesting cinematography and plot. The addition of cameos by multiple famous rappers and models and the upbeat hip-hop soundtrack were also worked nicely into the movie.
Gillian Flynn’s cutting novel, Gone Girl, focuses on a young married couple, Amy and Nick Dunne, and their crumbling marriage. Having both lost their jobs in New York, the couple consequently relocates to Nick’s hometown in Missouri, the bane of Amy’s existence. Nick opens a bar with his sister, using the rest of Amy’s trust fund money she received from her famous parents. On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy goes missing, and a full-fledged investigation ensues. Nick, under the scrutiny of this investigation, is the first and longstanding suspect, according to the police and many of his pesky neighbors. Well into the book significant secrets of both Amy and Nick are revealed. These two revelations show the unreliability of these two characters, making the reader question their credibility in the past and following chapters. The book ends with a twisted take on a happy ending, making the reader’s hair stand on end, and even being a bit frustrating. This suspenseful tale of deceit and love uses many thoughtful literary devices to tell its story. The book switches off from Nick’s present day narration and Amy’s past journal entries, creating an interesting dynamic of their points of view. Both characters are biased, favoring themselves and painting the flaws of the other. Also, having both of them as unreliable narrators creates another level of suspense in the novel, as the reader cannot be sure what is true and the mental state of both the characters is compromised. With these literary devices, Gillian Flynn makes a standard thriller into artful piece of stimulating literature.