Review: 'MDMA' Takes A Look At The Perils Of Drug Culture But Leaves A lot To Be Desired

MDMA is a movie inspired by true events about a young woman's descent into the ecstasy game that feels more like a propaganda-filled, cautionary tale that doesn't exactly know what it's trying to put forth.

So where do I even begin?

One thing that I will applaud this movie for is its representation; an Asian woman lead that shatters the model minority stereotype. Yes, I understand that this movie is based on true events that happened in the director, Angie Wang's, life, so of course the lead would be an Asian woman; but I still found the story, because of its lead character, to be a refreshing one as well as one of the reasons as to why I was looking forward to watching this movie. However, pretty much everything outside of the movie's distinguishing factor was... rough to say the least.

For one, the movie doesn't seem to know what it wants to be: it's a drug dealer rising in the ranks story, a White Asian savior story, and your run of the mill college drama. Now, I'm not saying that a movie that attempts to tackle all of those things can't work because it can. I think that anything can work if you have the right people working on it, I unfortunately don't think that that was the case with this movie. The story jumps around entirely too much without providing any real explanations for the things that transpire or anything more than surface level "well this usually happens in these kinds of movies, so let's put it in here as well" kind of scenes making the whole experience a rather confusing one. Because of that it actually made me question how much of the story are true events vs what was added into the movie to make it more "movie-like".

I also found the writing to feel as though it was written by someone who is clearly no longer in the age bracket that they are attempting to portray. Yes, the movie is based on the 80s, so the lingo was different, but the dialogue at times was so incredibly cringe-worthy that I even questioned if the writer actually lived these experiences or is just taking things from their imagination (Angie Wang was also the writer of this movie). Because of the cringe-inducing writing, it made the acting at times also come off a bit stale and clunky; the pacing and editing could also have something to do with that as well.

Both the pacing and overall editing was a bit too fast and choppy for me. For a good part of the beginning of the movie I kept thinking about how if the movie was slower that it would feel more raw and less cheesy. There were also moments at the end of certain scenes where I could tell the filmmakers didn't necessarily know where or how to end it and move on to another.

The entire movie never appropriately builds up what it's attempting to sell to the viewer. We're meant to believe that Angie is this "mystery X Goddess", but we never truly to get watch her rise or even get to the root of her motivation. Because of the mediocre writing and story structure, cringey dialogue, and choppy editing this promising movie left a lot to be desired.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5