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Wick's Review

Created Oct 20, 2018 05:42AM PST • Edited Jun 20, 2020 03:42PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    White Boy Rick is more than a primo Matthew McConaughey movie, though it is definitely one of those. It is a darkly funny – basically true – tale of a family gone wrong in a city gone hella wrong, 1980s Detroit.

    Yann Demange’s film is a grim sociological examination, proctological in its penetration of a city in the throes of a decline both precipitous and long term. Indeed, Detroit was already ruined by the mid-eighties.

    The Wershe family were about the last white family in that Detroit, their city controlled by crack dealers and crooked politicians, each with bad cops on the take. Rick Wershe Sr. – McConaughey – was an entrepreneurial gun dealer just sure his big break was around the next corner. His son never stood a chance.

    Rick Wershe Jr. is in prison to this day, for real. Getting mixed up with AK-47s used to massacre little boys and later becoming a big time crack dealer – moving major weight on the street corners of Detroit – will lead to those kind of consequences, even for a juvenile. He’s a very sympathetic felon, White Boy Rick.

    His biopic is a great movie, worth seeking out for McConaughey fans and darkly funny crime drama aficionados, plus those interested in Destroyed Detroit as a sociological and economic phenomenon.

  3. Great 4.0

    Matthew McConaughey’s Richard Wershe Sr. is a man who dances to the sound of his own bullhorn. Instantly one of the great McConaughey’s inimitable characters, Rick Wershe is like a mashup of his demented salesman in Wolf of Wall Street and his hustler in Dallas Buyers Club.

    • Richie Merritt walked out of the principal’s office to star as 15 year old Rick Wershe Jr., aka White Boy Rick. The kid’s a natural.
    • Bel Powley plays his strung-out sister.
    • Bruce Dern adds major depth to the cast as family patriarch “Roman” Wershe.
    • Piper Laurie adds more moviestar charisma as his wife, matriarch of the demented Wershe clan.
    • Jennifer Jason Leigh is very strong as an FBI Agent aiming to take down Detroit’s drug dealers.
    • Rory Cochrane is less strong as her FBI partner.
    • Brian Tyree Henry is solid as a DPD undercover officer.
    • Jonathan Majors is smooth as a drug kingpin. Majors also made an impression as a Buffalo Soldier in Hostiles.
    • Eddie Marsan adds to his character-actor oeuvre as a mysterious drug kingpin.
    • Taylour Paige struts as an object of desire.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    French director Yann Demange specializes in underworld films, with White Boy Rick being his first American-set movie. Choosing a true story set in Detroit clearly suited him to a T.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.2
  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Savage 3.7
  17. Rudeness Nasty 4.0
  18. Glib 1.2

    The movie hews remarkably close to the real White Boy Rick’s twisted life story, albeit does spice up the story here and there according to History vs. Hollywood.

    Movie hijinks aside, White Boy Rick occurs in 1980s Detroit, already a destroyed city and yet a full decade before the urban apocalypse that gave birth to Eminem in 8 Mile.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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