Director: Juel Taylor.
A fun journey into the psyche of Black America, “They Cloned Tyrone” is everything Jorden Peele’s “Get Out” (2017) and “Us” (2019) failed to be.
The film revolves around three Afro-American cinematic troops: a drug dealer, a pimp, and a prostitute, portrayed by John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris, respectively. While their acting performances are excellent, some may question the use of stereotypical characters. However, the movie addresses this concern with a surprising plot twist: all black characters are clones created by white government officials to uphold the American un-justice society's status quo. These clones are deliberately designed as stereotypes, forced into lives of poverty and crime, but with an unexpected purpose - to combat gentrification (damn!).
The film's cynical social commentary is being amplified by drawing on symbols from Louisiana Voodoo tradition, highlighting the historical belief in white people's mind control powers over black people, programming them into slavery and suppressing their personalities.
Compared to "Get Out" (2017), I previously wrote about similar symbolism, but I find Juel Taylor's adaptation of these ideas to cinema far more compelling than what Jordan Peele achieved. Similarly, Taylor masterfully employs the concept of clones to deliver a stronger message than Peele did in "Us" (2019), particularly due to the powerful symbolism and social commentary mentioned earlier.
One criticism I have about the film is that the resolution to the conflict feels somewhat simplistic. I had hoped for more incorporation of Louisiana Voodoo symbolism to counter the mind control of the white men, similarly to the camera symbolism in "Get Out." Unfortunately, the screenplay falls short in the third act.
Lastly, I must say it was incredibly enjoyable to experience a campy film set in this context. Often, cinema delving into such topics maintains a serious tone, so "They Cloned Tyrone" provides a refreshing, fun, and entertaining film that doesn't come across as preachy.
Verdict: 4.5 / 5 ★ - Fun and smart.