ollowing the great Netflix account cull of 2023 – with viewers around the country shut out of their parents/friends/exes’ accounts – what reason is there to pay up for a subscription of one’s own?
Well, here’s a reason. They Cloned Tyrone is a new Netflix original film centred around three unlikely friends who uncover a sinister government conspiracy at play in their hometown, and it’s great.
There’s Fontaine, a grizzly drug dealer who doesn’t care about anyone except the people who get on the wrong side of him, played by John Boyega. There’s Slick Charles, a slippery, loud-mouthed pimp, played by Jamie Foxx. And then there’s Yo-Yo, the hotheaded, heart-of-gold sex worker who gained her nickname from Slick because, despite her aspirations for a more fulfilling life, she always comes back to him.
The story kicks off when a turf war between Fontaine and a rival drug dealer, Isaac, goes wrong and Fontaine is fatally shot. The next day he wakes up, unawares, and goes about his business Groundhog Day-style, until Slick Charles informs him that he should be dead.
With the help of Yo-Yo, who can identify the creepy black vehicle that left the scene of Fontaine’s death and has a fondness for Nancy Drew-esque investigative techniques, the triumvirate set to figure out what is going on. To reveal more would give the game away, but let’s just say there are shades of Orphan Black and Get Out.
They Cloned Tyrone doesn’t falter once. The story moves quickly over its 1 hour 59 minute run time, and its rather sombre mood at the beginning is a complete contrast to the humour and colour that follows, it’s completely disarming.
The writing is good with some terrific one liners, like when Yo-Yo reluctantly enters a creepy house and exclaims, “It’s kinda nice. Some good bones in this b****.” Foxx is a hoot, and leaves you wanting more. Meanwhile, Boyega is clearly the leading man he was always meant to be, oozing charisma in spades and giving real depth to the character.
The film is very easy on the eye, with a timeless feel (literally: everyone’s dressed like it’s the Seventies but there’s references to bitcoin. It gets less jarring with time) that brings together groovy styling with creepy Eighties neon lighting, akin to the Stranger Things method of pairing eerie darkness with extreme over-saturation.
The soundtrack is full of funk, soul and groove, which is used brilliantly to unsettle the viewer. Like how Jordan Pelle opened Get Out with Childish Gambino’s Redbone, those silky tunes suddenly lend themselves to murder, mystery and intrigue.
They Cloned Tyrone is a two-hour long romp with a deeply satisfying ending, though I’d advise for those who are eating as they watch: steer well clear of chicken – you’ll thank me later.
They Cloned Tyrone is streaming on Netflix from Friday 21