Well-intentioned, verite-style docudrama stumbles on its own drug-movie cliches, although “Nate Dogg’s” cinematic excesses-on-a-shoestring do suggest what one-man band Thomas Farone could do with material worth the kitchen-sink treatment. Potential distribs might run into legal problems due to pic and lead character’s moniker being borrowed from a popular rapper.
Pic’s main hook is that a non-actor patriotically named Nathan Hale plays a protag also called Nathan Hale, with a story based loosely on events in the real 20-year-old’s life. Hale lost his mother to AIDS at an early age, and suffered from severe Attention Deficit Disorder until he found the right drugs. Farone’s saga has him bumping into the wrong drugs, however, with plot turns involving white-supremacist dealers, gold-toothed black suppliers, and gals who live in trailers with their abusive daddies. Decision to present overcooked material as faux docu, with mix of film stocks and emphasis on in-your-face shaky-cam visuals, leads to more risible moments than affecting ones. And ADD angle is completely lost in the meller shuffle. Pro sound, music, and FX work, plus likable presence of tattooed lead, save project from the dumpster.