Notorious (2009)

After seeing this movie I have just realized something, Biggie was a ladies man!

Based on the story of Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. (played by Jamal Woolard), this insightful biopic chronicles the gangsta rapper’s troubled life as a drug dealer, his artistic success and his unresolved murder at age 24. The film also delves into his close friendship with Sean Combs (Derek Luke) and the famous feud with hip-hop rival Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie). Angela Bassett portrays Biggie’s mother.

The film is your obvious generic rise-and-fall story that you would expect. Starts out from a rough background, makes it big, then tragically falls. That is the same formula used for all these biopics, and although that is used here again, it isn’t as bad as you would expect.

It was a great experience with this film cause I have like that 90’s gangster rap, but more importantly, Biggie. So to see his story played out was a huge treat for me, and the one thing I liked is how you get to see the reason and inspiration of why somebody would want to be apart of this life style. The direction from George Tillman Jr. has to be praised because everything right from the location the the outfits everything is shot in detail, and so I felt like I was with Biggie as this was happening in the 90’s.

I didn’t feel very attached to Biggie Smalls so I didn’t cry when he died. The movie didn’t give me any insight into Biggie’s character. The film doesn’t quite get past his big huge character and just shows us what we see in footage and archives, never anything else. There were moments in this film that felt a bit too dramatized and were put in for dramatic effect. A lot of the stuff with Lil’ Kim didn’t seem very realistic and just more outrageous to make the film like that. The time limit also made this film seem like a long trip that could have been cut-down with all its talking and into more of exciting concert footage.

The best thing here is unknown actor Jamal Woolard. This film basically lets Woolard be Biggie anyway he wants to be Biggie, and he really does shine as him. He captures the essence and character of Biggie 0n and off the mic, which I found even better when he was singing. The supporting cast with Mackie, Luke, and Bassett all have their scenes where they show off their talents, but I feel like Mackie didn’t have much time to show more of his talents off cause I know he can.

Consensus: With its obvious generic rise-and-fall formula, Notorious steps away from the obvious biopic cliches, and gives us great performances and a slick directing job Tillman Jr.


One comment

  1. I also that the movie was Ok. Nothing special but just Ok and the ending with his mom givning that speech felt cheesy and ruined the realism for me.

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