“I ain’t scared. I’m a dope boy, remember?”


Juel Taylor’s directorial debut is a racially astute satire, exhibiting frequent tonal similarities with Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You. Anachronisms abound as the film’s entire visual style and its main characters — a drug dealer, a pimp and a sex worker — scream 1970s blaxploitation, yet the film is clearly set in modern day (Yo-Yo claims to be retiring to make money using blockchain). This commentary on the identity forced upon black communities is also what provides much of the entertainment, from the colour grading and artificial grain to the costumes and set design and, of course, the rhythmic patter of profanity-laden dialogue. John Boyega again proves his worth as a leading man, imbuing the taciturn Fontaine with considerable interior weight even as the film’s absurdity ramps up. He is every bit the equal of Jamie Foxx’s fur-trimmed flamboyance and Teyonah Parris’ charismatic street smarts in supporting roles. They Cloned Tyrone revels in conspiracy theories and racial stereotypes as its sci-fi Government plot unfolds, its gradual build making for a more satisfying, less jarring conclusion than Sorry to Bother You even if its social commentary is less precise.