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Three teenagers find a briefcase with a beat-up old can in it. They throw away the can and pawn the suitcase. When they read in the papers that the can was full of uncut heroin and belonged to a drug dealer who killed two narcotics agents in a shootout, they go back to look for the can, find it, and decide to go into the heroin selling business. However, the drug dealer's gang also wants the heroin, finds out the boys have it, and sets out to hunt them down and get back their dope. Written by
Kind of like "The Killing", except with teenagers - very cool little flick
"Stakeout on Dope Street" is one of the most pleasantly surprising b-flicks I've seen in a while. Its not a masterpiece of cinema or anything along those lines, but for what it is (a combination of the popular juvenile delinquent and film noir genres), its exemplary. If you're a fan of Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing", than you should check this little sleep out, as both of them have similar styles. They both deal with a crime gone horribly wrong (in "The Killing" it was the heist of a race track, here its the dealing of discovered heroin), both have narrations, and both involve warring factions for the loot.
Still, there's enough here to make the film an unique experience. Its full of beatnik cool in the Hollywood style - you know, a loud and jazzy score with plenty of hep dialog. The direction by Irvin Kershner works well for the material. He keeps everything moving at a lightning quick pace and several scenes are full of tension. There's one highly memorable part in the whole movie, which oddly enough is the anti-drug message. One of the junkie characters has a flashback to a methadone clinic, which is presented as complete hell and has the gritty and simple effectiveness of William S. Burrough's finest work. "Stakeout on Dope Street" is definitely a sleeper - a film which turns out to be much better than you'd expect it to be. Its just an incredibly cool little flick. (7/10)
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