‘They Cloned Tyrone’ Review: There’s Only One John Boyega

“They Cloned Tyrone” is an ambitious, nightmarish tale about a precarious identity, opening with two blue-eyed images taut in a corner. When the camera pulls back, the peeping owner is revealed to be a white man grinning at a sign bearing the tagline “Keep em’ smile”. In front of the ad, black people discuss possible sightings of Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson, now allegedly disguised in a new black skin. The food mart, with its prominent sign next to the door, is where gossipy blacks hold court, one of many that dot the neglected fictional cityscape residents call The Glen. .

Director Jewel Taylor sees Glenn as a self-contained world where conspiracy theories are the news columns and the drunk neighbor (Leon Lamar) is the prophet. At the center of it all is the multifaceted drug dealer Fontaine (John Boyega). Whenever he buys a 40-ounce bottle of malt liqueur at the food mart, he never hesitates to pour it into a cup for Lamar. He would care for his sick mother and would drive into an unsuspecting dealer without mercy.

Fontaine’s moral compass is survival. The same goes for the wayward pimp Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx), who gives women like Yo-Yo (Teyonna Paris) assurances that they will definitely come back. Fontaine, who was collecting her debts from Slick Charles, was brutally murdered by her previously beaten dealer. Despite the shooting, Fontaine woke up the next morning unharmed. Was it a dream, or something more frightening?

The first hour of “They Cloned Tyrone” is surprisingly talkative. Fontaine, Slick Charles, and Yo-Yo (a shady neighborhood acquaintance) team up to investigate Fontaine’s death threat. The three eventually discover a series of elevators leading to an underground laboratory at a familiar hangout. Taylor sees these places as places where outside forces can easily undermine the black community and make it flexible through food, religion and beauty products. But one wonders whether the film paints these spaces as necessary places for escapist pleasure, or scrutinizes them as crutches.

Another fascinating proposition arises when a black character utters the phrase “assimilation is better than extinction.” The film explores issues of aspirations, status politics, racism, and the mistrust that some African Americans have of institutional professionals such as police, doctors, and scientists. are taking up. Taylor paints black self-loathing as a dangerous extension of this white contempt.

pun on “”truman show“as”undercover brother‘The Clone Tyrone’ also shines with its sultry style: evocative, smoky John Carpenter-inspired cinematography and blaxploitation-inspired costumes, and its exuberant performances. standing firm. The dialogue is lengthy, and even if the film’s scares don’t provide as much terror as a sci-fi mystery movie could hope for, the inspired Fox, the subversive Paris, and the ruthless but melancholy Boyega carry the dramatic weight. . transforms popular stereotypes of urban black life into the rich and dynamic humanism of that reality.

They cloned Tyrone
Rated R for profanity and nude doubles. Running time: 2 hours 2 minutes. Watch on Netflix Or at the theater.

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