How Did The “White Boy” Do In The Box Office?
By Edward Kasule
“White Boy Rick” is the fictional depiction of the life of Richard Wershe Jr., the self-claimed “youngest FBI informant.” He was born in Detroit into a lower middle-class family. His mother left him, his father, and his sister when he was around six years old. Wershe’s father did everything in his power to keep his family afloat, including selling various electronics, sports gear, and firearms. Wershe’s sister, Dawn, began abusing drugs, and Wershe formed a relationship with her boyfriend, a small-town criminal. This began Wershe’s involvement with crime, from which he transitioned into selling crack-cocaine. At the age of 14, he became an informant for the FBI, using his connections with some of Detroit’s crime lords to the Bureau's benefit. After he completed his job, they no longer needed him. Shortly after, he was arrested for possession of 8 kilos of cocaine At the time of Wershe’s arrest, possession of 650 grams or more resulted in a life sentence.
The film itself was pretty underwhelming. While watching it, I felt the emotions and feelings the characters tried to portray, but I did not connect to them. The story of Wershe is filled with multiple twists and turns but they were not illustrated in a fulfilling matter. In general, the movie feels rushed, and some of the most important moments were skipped over. One thing the movie did that added to my disappointment was during certain “emotional” moments, instead of making the audience actually feel these emotions, the directors would rely on Merritt’s facial expressions instead. The camera zoomed into a close-up of his face, and the audience was expected to feel what his face expressed. I think that the director thought that this would prompt the audience to feel the same emotion Merritt had on his face, but this was definitely not what happened.
One of my favorite moments in the movie was near the end of the film. Wershe is having an awful time in prison. The camera shows his face and he seems to be looking up. The camera pans up to reveal the American flag, flying above the heavily protected prison. This is a very powerful moment because it reveals a harsh truth about America. In a country that was founded on rights and freedoms, too many injustices occur. The fact that a 17 year old with a struggling, broken family was sentenced to life in prison by the same government that he helped is unacceptable.
Director: Yann Demange
Screenplay: Andy Weiss, Logan Miller, Noah Miller
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Starring: Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Brian Tyree Henry
Duration: 1 hr 51 min