Movie review: ‘White Boy Rick’

Photo by Kat Owens

MITCHELL KRAUS | Editor-in-Chief

Students: Do you know when your history professor assigns you a paper about many years of recorded history, and expects you to fit it into 2,500 words or so? That is kind of what “White Boy Rick” feels like.

The film, which released on Sept. 14, tells the story of Rick Wershe Jr., a.k.a “White Boy Rick,” a man who is the youngest known informant to the FBI at the age of 14. 

The based-on-a-true-story film covers about four years of Rick’s life, which is an ambitious undertaking.

Unfortunately, the broad vision is also the film’s weak point. Rick transforms from a kid of 14 to a successful drug dealer at just 17.

Time zooms by in this movie, with Rick Jr., played by Richie Merritt, and his father Rick Sr., played by Matthew McConaughey, not seeming to age at all. Think about what you looked like at 14, and what you looked like at 17. Different, right?

Supporting characters arrive into and leave the narrative so rapidly that, as I was watching it, I began calling them titles such as “Grandpa,” “Female FBI agent,” “Male FBI agent” and “Generic gangster No. 5” in my head. They just don’t feel like real people.

The world of this film feels quite a lot like a video game, with the main character meeting with people in the environment to send him on yet another quest. The police and FBI show up to explain the risk, one of the bad guys shoots at something or someone, Rick Sr. yells at Rick Jr. Wash, rinse, repeat. 

The real story of White Boy Rick is fascinating, and would be better served made into a miniseries instead of smashed into a film that runs for about two hours. There are just too many characters, and nobody gets a chance to create an emotional moment before the film rushed off to the next thing Rick has to do. 

Score: 2.5/5