Movie Review: Notorious
Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 6 months ago
PL's Archives: Written 1/21/09
Yes! I will admit and say on more then one occasion mentioning wishing and wanting it to have been a documentary a-la Tupac’s ‘Resurrection’, but I have to admit it turned out better than expected. Loved it! It served its purpose. No hype! I found it to be detailed in many aspects of which I guess the audience themselves at some point maybe felt they “knew” all there was to know about the man, his life, his issues, his moves… but realized in many scenes that no… it wasn’t as it was assumed by either media or themselves. “Notorious” delivers a raw look into a man’s life, of which unfortunately cut short, displayed the typical day to day struggles of the less fortunate, but with dreams, will and talent turned it all around and morphed himself into one of the world’s biggest (no pun intended) icons in the world of music as a whole. The appreciation for who he is and his music is most definitely elevated as you sit through and walk out with it all in your head. The presentation of substance makes you focus and take in the music created by this man in a different way. Like most biographical films Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace left a mark. B.I.G. was a gifted storyteller; his lyrics pertaining to violent life on the streets were expressed with passionate, objective realism that gained him enormous respect and credibility. His stories were in general terms and gave a voice to many in his generation. And like many other world figures, like it or hate it… they did it their way and there’s nothing anyone can do to take away who they are, were and what they stand and stood for.
Acting wise… as Wallace, Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard is almost a mirror image from the real man himself. He’s convincing performing B.I.G’s hits and proves himself to be first-rate dramatic actor as well -- at least in a story like this that he can clearly relate to. As his mother Angela Bassett makes the most of limited screen time (despite top billing) and professionally conveys the anguish of a parent fighting a losing battle for her son. Derek Luke (who I clearly remember from “Miracle at St. Anna”) does a pretty good job by playing Puffy with just the right amount of flash and supreme confidence. Unfortunately, the “balanced” portrait of Combs and many others in B.I.G’s life is tainted by the fact this film was produced by some of the real life players, including his managers, mother and executive producer Combs.
Much respect to all those involved and for sure would recommend this film a ‘must see’ not only if you’re into the Hip-Hop scene, but a lover of true creative storytelling.