Notorius

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:George Tillman Jr.
  • Cast:Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, Anthony Mackie, Jamal Woolard
  • Release Date:March 12, 2009
  • Distributor:20th Century Fox
  • Running time:123 minutes
  • Film Worth:$7.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…a pretty standard biopic…”

22e419176d730bf3b070.jpg

You don't have to be a hip hop fan to be intrigued by the sad saga of the rapper Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. A New York ghetto kid with no apparent future, he was mentored by Sean ("Puffy") Combs, became a huge star at twenty, and was murdered in 1997 at the age of just 24. We know most of this from the word go; Notorious is in large part a backstory about Biggie's coming of age. It's also something of a whitewash. Sure, Biggie (Jamal Woolard) is shown dealing crack and treating his "bitches" insensitively, but the broader portrayal is of a big-hearted ingenue, and it somehow fails to ring true. So does the implication that he was in any way remarkable or unique: almost everything that Biggie says is woefully inarticulate and gormlessly delivered. His lyrics, however, are a cut above, and so Combs (Derek Luke) assures him that, "You can be the average nigger from Brooklyn, or you can rap about the average nigger from Brooklyn".

Though never especially moving, Notorious is funny in places, and mildly interesting in its exploration of the East Coast/West Coast feud, in which Biggie and Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) were hapless pawns or protagonists (depending on whom you believe). But, though Biggie's mother Voletta (Angela Bassett) could be forgiven for saying, "With his life, he proved that no dream is too big", it's a bit much to expect us to agree with her.

Notorious is a pretty standard biopic, and is probably largely compromised. If you've never seen Nick Broomfield's excellent 2002 doco Biggie And Tupac, you'd be better served hunting that down instead.

follow us on twitter
like us on facebook

latest categories

DVD

latest issue

Filmink latest issue

latest news

Thunder Down Under
Thunder Down Under

Writer, director, producer and star Aaron Davison discusses his new film, Talking Back at Thunder, and the process of getting it made in an exotic and remote location like Northern Queensland.

Through the Lens
Through the Lens

We continue our coverage of the rising Western Australian film industry, with the WA Screen Academy and its contribution to training the next generation of filmmakers.

Sex and the West Australians
Sex and the West Australians

In our new issue we take a look at the film industry in Western Australia, and we continue online with the webseries, 'Ashbeclee'.

Bringing Back the BIFF
Bringing Back the BIFF

The Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) recently had a change with the announcement of the inaugural Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF), which will open Australia up to new internationally renowned films.