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Film / White Boy Rick

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White Boy Rick is a 2018 American biographical crime drama film directed by Yann Demange. Based on a True Story, it stars Richie Merritt as Richard Wershe Jr., who in the 1980s becomes the youngest-ever FBI informant at the age of 14 after getting acquainted with the son of a local gangster. The film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Jonathan Majors, Rory Cochrane, Eddie Marsan, Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie.

This film provides examples of:

  • The '80s: The film takes place in 1980s Detroit during the height of the crack epidemic and The War on Drugs.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: At a party following a boxing match in Las Vegas, Johnny beats his rival, Leon Lucas, within an inch of his life with a bottle of champagne.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ricky has this reaction when he learns that the weapons used at the drive-by of Lucas' home were the same AK-47s he sold to Johnny at the start of the film, as the drive-by killed one of Lucas's young sons and he is devastated by his involvement in the murder of a child.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The credits reveal what happened to Ricky: He was imprisoned for over 30 years, holding the record for the longest prison term for a non-violent offender in the state of Michigan, before being finally released on parole in 2017. His father passed away in 2014. His daughter, Keisha, is now happily married with two sons.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Johnny orders a drive-by at his rival Lucas' home, killing one of his young sons.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Non-lethal example. Around two years after Ricky helped bring Johnny down, Ricky assumes the role that Johnny left behind in the drug trade. To add further irony, Ricky had begun to sell drugs only to keep up appearances with his job as informant.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This is more or less Ricky's former handlers' attitude towards Ricky after he is arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute and he faces a potential life sentence. They deny their relationship with him, but promise they will try to get his sentence reduced if he cooperates on one last bust, only for the FBI to raid that deal and indeed, Ricky is found guilty and is sentenced to life in prison. When his father Rick confronts the two agents about their deal, they feign ignorance.