The reviews are for "White Boy Rick" and they are a mixed bag.

Both newcomer Richie Merritt and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey earn kudos for his performances like Richard Wershe Jr., who became an FBI informant at 14, and his wrong dad.

But some critics think that the film tries to cover too much land with its spreading history, even in focusing only on the teenage years of Wershe – who was actually sentenced to drug fees at 17 years, spent three decades behind bars in Michigan and is now in prison in Florida in an unrelated case.

As of Friday, "White Boy Rick" scored a 60 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which summarizes reviews across the country.

Los Angeles Times commended the director Yann Demange's decision to focus on the father's dynamic as it described it as "a portrait of a family that come together and fall apart while obsessed with external forces are too strong to fight, It is tender and tragic among glitz and dirt. "

Associated Press liked its vibrant sense of space and great image. "Overall, it's a confusing story about the adults who have helped to encourage Rick to get into this position (betrayers will make your bloodshed) and an accusation of how US laws often hurt people from the most vulnerable classes" [19659010] More: The "White Boy Rick" event has family drama on screen – and in the theater

But several critics think that the film's ambitions are not the right gel.

"White Boy Rick" is an engaging enough precautionary story, if that's what it is. It's even an entertaining, unreasonably, says Washington Post. "But if there is any deeper meaning for a story just trying to greet half of the family, it's debatable."

According to the Boston Globe Review, the movie "hit many of the right notes: drama, patos, a touch of timeliness, a stunning natural performance from the first time actor Richie Merritt in the title role and solid support of Matthew McConaughey as Rick rare lowlife of a father Richard Wershe Sr. "

More: Detroit's drug crisis in the 1980s comes to big screen in the" White Boy Rick "

Merritt earns particularly high marks for his realistic presence as a teenager with a Hard, opaque facade that holds everything inside. The 17-year-old from Baltimore, who had never acted before, was discovered at his high school during a nationwide search.

"Best of all is Merritt, a remarkable find that makes an indestructible impression in its very first screenplay," the raved AV club. "To give Rick just the right mix of bravado and inconvenience, he's like an unlikely cuts of a young Matt Dillon with a young Seth Row. Do not expect him to disappear for 30 years."

According to some criticism The main weakness of White Boy Rick is its management of the fact that Wershe is a white character in a predominantly black city.

"If the movie was" Black Boy Rick "should it have been done?" asked the New York Times. "It's a fair question, given that US big screen fictions of genuinely sympathetic, fully humanized black criminals are unusual and the only meaningful thing about the film's title character is that he was exploited by the law when he was barely old enough to shave."

The Collider Web Site said "his compassion reserved for Ricky and his family do not carry the rest of the predominant African American cast, so the iniquities that visited Ricky feel hollow … Thus all black characters can serve as a backdrop to Ricky's story, and Ricky's story can not determine if it's a young Scarface or a poor child. "

The strongest agreement among the reviews may be on the glamorous gritty of the retro Detroit setting.

Scummy, skanky and grubby appear in descriptions of the film's visual style. As the New York Post expressed, the movie does not "clean up the story or make a bad neighborhood look good".

"Scuzzy. It's the word to describe the tetanus-infected appearance that Demange gives to 1984 Detroit," said Variety.

To his vision of Detroit, that is. Although the production was filmed shortly here, most of the film in Cleveland is taken care of.

Contact Detroit Free Press Pop Culture Critic Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or

White Boy Rick

Rated R

Opens Friday

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