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White Boy Rick

Newcomer Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe, who everyone knows as “White Boy Rick”. This is a story based on a memoir by Wershe, who became an FBI informant at around 15 years of age to avoid prison and then turned to selling cocaine later and ended up serving a 30-year prison sentence for dealing.  The film depicts his family – a sister, who is addicted to injection drugs, and his father, played brilliantly by Mathew McConaughey – and the circumstances that led him to a prison sentence. The film overall is not terribly bad. The acting is really strong, especially by McConaughey and by Merritt, who appears to be a newcomer. The story has a lot of holes – I always got the feeling that I was missing important information about Wershe, and it was difficult to tell how much of the story was based in actual fact and how much was embellished in the interest of the story. One of the messages seemed to be that people should not be serving long sentences like this for drug crimes, but if that message was one of the intentions of the film, it gets lost in the details. In spite of its shortcomings, I give it a thumbs-up.

About Gary Burkholder

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