Film of the day: White Boy Rick

White Boy Rick - Richie Merritt and Matthew McConaughey

Set in 1980s Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs, Richie Merritt stars as a teenager whose misguided attempts to free his family from a cycle of crime – his father is an illegal guns dealer – leads to him ever deeper into criminal behaviour. 

Based on the real-life story of Rick Wershe Jr, a 14-year-old schoolboy who would go on to become the FBI’s youngest ever informant. This is a gritty, cold and uncomfortable look at America’s social underbelly and how the appeal of quick cash and peer approval provide an intoxicating mix for those with few prospects. 

Directed by Yann Demange (Top Boy and 71), White Boy Rick should have a lot more to say about how a child was coerced and discarded by law enforcement agencies, but it plots its own path without judgement or virtue signalling and almost succeeds in validating why the rewards from dealing are seen, by some, as worthwhile.

White Boy Rick – now showing on Sky Cinema Premiere.