Photo Credit: Netflix
July 21, 2023 will be known for years to come as the day of Barbenheimer - the cinematic event of the year, with two of the biggest releases of 2023 going head-to-head in a contrasting fight for dominance. However, eagled-eyed entertainment fans will have noticed that one more big release was planned on the same day, albeit with no theatre-going element. They Cloned Tyrone released straight to Netflix on July 21 worldwide, featuring John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx in the lead roles.
Unlike the serious, cinematic masterpiece Oppenheimer and colourful, but equally hard-hitting Barbie, They Cloned Tyrone takes a rather different tone and approach. It's a sci-fi thriller set in a deliberately confusing timeline and a neighbourhood that most would choose to steer clear of. With a splash of visible grain in the picture to give the film a retro-futuristic feel, They Cloned Tyrone is in equal parts absurd and gripping.
The film features John Boyega (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) in a largely unrecognisable look as Fontaine, a small-time drug dealer in an impoverished Black neighbourhood known as the Glen. Teyonah Parris plays prostitute Yo-Yo, while Jamie Foxx plays Slick Charles, a pimp who buys drugs from Fontaine.
A rather important element in the film is the mashing up of timelines; you never quite know when this movie is taking place, and that adds to the mystery of the more sinister plot of the film which reveals itself as you go along. The cars are both old and new, the mobile phones are from about 20 years ago (there's a clear shot of the iconic original Moto Razr), and there is talk of bitcoin and cryptocurrency, never really letting you fix on a timeline.
The title of the film is itself the biggest hint that clones are involved, but how this plays into the setting of the film is quite absurd, helped along by some witty, in-character jokes by Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx). The three key characters of the film realise something is amiss in their neighbourhood, and must work against a rather strange but very dangerous organisation to take back control. Twists and turns along the way keep you hooked, along with the silly humour and absurd behaviour by the townsfolk, who seem to be drugged by a mysterious mind-control substance.
Assuming you've already been to the theatres for the great ‘Barbenheimer' event, you might want to settle in on your couch for a film this week. Give They Cloned Tyrone a chance - you won't be disappointed.