White Boy Rick

First Hit: The best part of this film is that somewhere there is a true story behind it; just not very well represented here.

Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) is a young, somewhat quiet, and cocky fifteen-year-old boy being raised by a single dad Richard Wershe Sr. (Matthew McConaughey) along with his sister Dawn (Bel Powley).

Richard has a slightly twisted view of raising his kids surely because his parents Grandpa Ray (Bruce Dern) and Grandma Verna (Piper Laurie) are a real piece of work as well. The grandparents yell from their front porch at their son, who lives across the street and spend a lot of time criticizing how Richard is raising his kids.

Film starts with Richard and Rick coming home from a gun show where they purchase fake AK-47s to resell with home made silencers. Upon reaching home, they find Dawn high on heroin while being pawed by her much older dealer black boyfriend.

From here the film dives into Rick wanting to be a dealer, gets caught up with the FBI coaxing him too turn and become an informant by letting him keep the profits of his dealing. The FBI only want Rick to turn over the bigger fish. Part of their leverage is that they lay off Richard’s creating illegal silencers for the guns he resells.

We watch Rick become a big-time dealer in Detroit, help gets his sister get clean, but then makes mistakes and eventually ends up in jail.

Merritt was good as Rick in that he showed a inner strength along with a vulnerability. McConaughey was so-so as Rick’s dad. I don’t think he fit well with this role and his odd attempt to have a Detroit, northeastern, accent didn’t work very well. Dern was entertaining as a crotchety self-righteous old man. Laurie was equally crotchety until Dawn decided to come clean and spend time with her. Powley was very strong as a girl raised by a man who had no idea on how to raise a daughter and got herself together later in the film. Close to the best acting in this film. Brian Tyree Henry was strong as Police Detective Jackson. Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Agent Snyder) was excellent as the FBI Agent trying to flip Rick. Rory Cochrane was very good as FBI Agent Byrd working with Agent Snyder to flip and help Rick. RJ Cyler as Rick’s friend Rudell “Boo” Curry was excellent. He moved through this film convincingly. Andy Weiss and Logan Miller wrote an OK screenplay. Yann Demange directed this story, and it seemed a disjointed and unclear.

Overall: This story could have been told more effectively.