Action / Biography / Crime / Drama / Music
Action / Biography / Crime / Drama / Music
NOTORIOUS is the story of Christopher Wallace. Through raw talent and sheer determination, Wallace transforms himself from Brooklyn street hustler (once selling crack to pregnant women) to one of the greatest rappers of all time; THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Follow his meteoric rise to fame and his refusal to succumb to expectations - redefining our notion of "The American Dream."
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December 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Never was a fan until now
Back in the 90's as a teen, I never really got in to Biggie's music or
lyrics. I never knew the correlation between he and all these artists
like "Puff Daddy" Faith Evans, Lil Kim all came up together. I never
understood how the East Coast West Coast feud got started.
This film gave me a new respect for Christopher Wallace. His
intelligence and how he tied that in to his passion for music and
lyrics. He had a dream as a child and in the end he achieved that dream
of not just becoming a success as a performer, but a success as a
father to his children, a good son to his mom, and a good man to
I love that line in the move "If you wanna change the world, First
you've got to change yourself"
Inspirational film, even if you're not a fan of his music or hip hop,
you can still appreciate the story behind this man.
A movie for Biggie fans
That should have been the title of the movie. Everything about this
movie glorified Big..... if he was a nerdy student - he's gonna the
nerdiest student.... if he was a drug dealer - he was gonna be the
biggest drug dealer - complete with him sitting in a dark room with
that one light that shines down on the table (classic).... if he didn't
know anything about Tupac's murder - then he's gonna appear as if he
was absolutely oblivious to that entire situation.... not to mention
one of the supporting characters in this movie, Kim.... if Kim was
gonna be a ho - she's gonna be the dirtiest ho ever.... If I didn't
know any better, I would assume the only way she came up was by f'king
Biggie.... This is a one-sided, shallow view of a person's life. Biggie
fans want to remember his legacy flawless and that can be understood.
Sure why not? This movie was made for you..... It's a story told as
though a mother is speaking of her lost son who could do no wrong.....
Recommendation: Why not learn who Biggie was by beefing up the content
of the supporting cast.... his first baby's momma for starters, and
what about other artists that he interacted with? We could have seen a
more developed, well-rounded and truthful character. Possibly even
learn something about him that hasn't already been discussed in
magazines or on TV....
Read more IMDb reviews
Looks good and covers a lot of ground but doesn't work as a dramatic film
The opinion on IMDb on this film seems to be pretty split and the reason appears to be because many are not writing their opinions of the film so much as they are reviewing Biggie and/or hip-hop itself. So the unquestioning 10* reviews rave about the man and his music, while the 1* reviews talk more about the aspects of the music and culture he represents than they do about the film. I was curious to see what the film was like on its own merits so I made an effort to see it recently. The truth of the matter that the film is "ok" but not anything more than that and I say that as a hip-hop listener who likes more east coast than west coast.
The problem with the film is that it is far to driven by ticking boxes of people and events. As a result it doesn't flow so much as it does introduce people and things in a way that the audience will recognise. This is all well and good but it breaks up the film as a dramatic piece for example with Lil' Kim, she is not allowed to just be part of the story, no, when she is introduced we even get a shot of her name badge so we can all be sure from the start as to who she is. It is like this with events as well, and the dialogue is surprisingly expositional in its nature with far too many characters seemed to be talking just for the sake of filling in blanks or moving to the next scene. As a sort of summary of Biggie's career this is fine I suppose but when it comes to caring about the characters then it does hurt it quite bad.
Not that the film is overly concerned with the characters because the events-driven script doesn't really have any. Before anyone messages me with insults, I can see that there are physically people on the screen there, doing and saying things as these people, but in terms of character development and depth there is none. Nobody ever feels real partly because of the dialogue but also because the material doesn't give anybody room to develop. This is best seen in the "second-tier" characters such as Puffy and the many women in Biggie's life but it comes over differently with Biggie himself. Contrary to his musical personae, the film does not play up the negative side of Biggie's life too much. It cannot completely hide it though and we do get lots of infidelity and things like him happily selling crack to a pregnant woman. However all of these things tend to be deliberately cancelled out later on in some daft and unnecessary scenes. For example we get to see the crack user years later, fine and playing with her child (also fine) and of course much is put right by conversations, commitments and phone calls on the night that he gets killed. Such things damage the film further as both a record and as a dramatic film I didn't want "warts & all" but an edge of realism and criticism (where warranted) would have been good.
It might be them or it might be the material but either way, the cast are not that great. Woolard does a solid impersonation of Biggie and deal well with the material but he has nowhere to go with his character other than the specifics of the scene there is not a man inside his performance so much as an image of a man. Luke and Bassett are both very talented actors but neither gets to showcase that here indeed Luke is only memorable for how well he nails Puffy's dancing style. Naughton's Lil Kim sticks in the mind for reasons other than her performance (although again as an impression it is good enough for here). Smith, Ringgold, Mackie and others just do the basics as the film gives them no other options.
The end result is a film that looks good and covers a lot of ground but doesn't work as a dramatic film. The people and events are there but they are only ever names and things that happen never real people or events that come from the story. The cast turn in solid but not that good performances accordingly but nobody can raise it beyond what it is. Not "bad" generally but just really lacking over what I would have expected from a biopic.