Title Card - Infamous (2020)

If a fan of Bella Thorne, you’ll see she is in her element when it comes to playing Arielle in “Infamous.”

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If a fan of Bella Thorne, you’ll see she is in her element when it comes to playing Arielle in “Infamous.”

Director(s) Joshua Caldwell
Screenplay By Joshua Caldwell
Date Released (Digital/VOD) 6/12/2020
Distributor Vertical Entertainment
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Crime, Romance, Young Adult
Duration 1 Hour, 40 Minutes
Rating Rated R
Noted Cast
Arielle Bella Thorne
Dean Jake Manley
Elle Amber Riley

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Summary

Arielle, a Florida native, grew up without a dad, and her relationship with her mom is far from stellar. But, despite the hand dealt to her, she knows she’ll become something – that she’ll become famous. The only question is, how?

Well, like many, Hollywood seems like the way to do it, but then she meets Dean, an ex-con who hasn’t really learned his lesson. At least, after an accident, his first thought isn’t doing the right thing but the easy thing, and that is going back to armed robbery.

But things are different now with Arielle by his side. It’s just he didn’t realize he’d become Instagram famous thanks to her filming and participating in every robbery. Thus making them become the new Bonnie & Clyde.

What Must Also Be Noted

  • If you’re watching this to see Amber Riley, she doesn’t come in until an hour and 3 minutes.

Cast & Character Guide

Arielle (Bella Throne)

Arielle (Bella Thorne) before she is arrested.
Arielle (Bella Thorne)

Brief Description

Named after the “Little Mermaid,” but desiring not connection, Arielle dreams of getting the hell out of Florida and one day becoming famous. How? Well, by going to Hollywood. But what she may not have expected that her venture to Hollywood would make her infamous.

Dean (Jake Manley)

Dean (Jake Manley) smoking a cigarette.
Dean (Jake Manley)

Brief Description

A new boy to Arielle’s area, originally he wanted to keep his head down, get out of his dad’s place, and maybe use his knowledge of cars to make a decent life. However, than Arielle comes into his world, gets involved in a fight he has, and he finds himself on the run, trying to make her happy and survive.

Elle (Amber Riley)

Elle (Amber Riley) sitting in her home, dealing with Arielle forcing herself into her life.
Elle (Amber Riley)

Brief Description

An art major, now telemarketer, who is one of Arielle’s followers and lives vicariously through her to escape her dull and depressing existence.


If You Enjoy Bella Thorne, You’ll Love This Movie

To us, Bella Thorne is an indie darling, but not in a traditional way. When it comes to her, she isn’t trying to be the indie darling who takes part in potential Oscar fodder. Thorne is more so the girl who enjoys the kind of films which may not get a theatrical release, but when they hit Netflix or another streaming platform, they enjoy a weeklong pop just because there isn’t really anything to compare it to at the moment.

On top of that, while a lot of actors want to play badass, edgy, complicated, and things of that nature, you can sort of see the blueprint they are basing their acting on. Yet with Thorne, we’ve come to appreciate that her lack of traditional education in acting has allowed her to form her own persona. One that, yes, you may feel is transferred from one role to the next, but there is something about her that makes it fine that the persona is the same, or similar, and all that changes is the name and a few details of the character’s background.

Elle, As A Character, Presents You Someone You Wish Got To Tell Their Own Story

Let it be noted, Amber Riley is barely in the movie, and her character could have gotten shrunk or cut without it really changing a thing. However, there is something about her performance that makes you almost want a separate movie featuring Elle.

The reason? Well, Elle is a telemarketer, who went to school for the arts, is single, lives alone, and yet finds a sense of escape in following Arielle. And as you watch Elle talk about why she follows Arielle and maybe idolizes her a bit, it really hits you why people hold influencers on pedestals.

But, at the same time, it makes you wish the film was about an Elle like character who uses social media for escapism. Which is saying a lot because, again, Elle is a really disposable character, when it comes to Arielle’s journey. Yet, Riley makes her into something more, and while she doesn’t steal the movie, she does make it clear she doesn’t need to play a big personality and belt out music for her presence to be felt or character remembered.

On The Fence

It’s Social Commentary Makes Sense, But Isn’t All That Strong

With all that said about Elle, I want it to be clear my love for Amber Riley is what makes me prop up what Arielle and influencers mean, more than anything else. Strip away Riley’s performance, and as much as there is this vibe that people will follow anything and anyone that gives them escapism, this film doesn’t go as deep as it could. Hell, the fact Arielle killed cops (plural) and got brought out in handcuffs, rather than murdered on sight, could be used to talk about white privilege.

However, there is a very specific dance here. “Infamous” wants to be that exciting and fun action movie, yet still have some sense of depth. It’s just the viewer has to do the heavy lifting and make the point of there being more than meets the eye.


Would Watch Again? – One and Done

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

“Infamous” may not have the violence that shocks you, comedic moments that make you giggle, or be all that thought-provoking. However, like many of Thorne’s films, you can see the potential there. You can see, if this was punched up a little bit, that character fleshed out, this could really be something. But, one of the things we’ve come to learn is, Thorne usually goes for imperfect films, but that’s what makes them entertaining. They don’t aim to be taken seriously, even if there are aspects that you, the viewer, could take to the next level.

Leading to why the positive label – While maybe not a memorable film, “Infamous” does what any and all films should seek to be, entertainment. Something that won’t have you checking the time, seeing how much of the film is left, but just sitting down and enjoying a character’s journey.

Where To Watch

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Infamous (2020) Ending Explained (Spoilers)

Arielle (Bella Thorne) seeing all her followers cheer her on as she is arrested.
Arielle (Bella Thorne)

After killing multiple cops, coercing Elle to take them in, and trying to lay low in Oklahoma City, until they end up part of a bank robbery, all but Arielle die. Dean is shot in the abdomen, by his friend after Arielle has a gun pulled out on her, and while Arielle shoots two men, which keeps her alive, she doesn’t go out in the expected blaze of glory.

You see, rather than run out and shoot as many cops as she can, before succumbing to bullets, she lets herself be taken in and sees a masse of followers as she is walked to a police car. Making it seem all worth it for, ultimately, Arielle got what she wanted – she is famous.

Sequel Potential

Arielle killed multiple cops, robbed a multitude of stores, and might go down for the murder of her fellow two robbers – she ain’t ever getting out of prison. But, we must admit, it could be interesting to see how she adapts to prison. Thorne does like playing a badass chick who is dealing with some issues. What better way to continue to explore that niche than playing a convict?

If You Enjoy Bella Thorne, You'll Love This Movie - 82%
Elle, As A Character, Presents You Someone You Wish Got To Tell Their Own Story - 84%
It's Social Commentary Makes Sense, But Isn't All That Strong - 75%


While maybe not a memorable film, "Infamous" does what any and all films should seek to be, entertainment.

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