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Movie Review Time: NOUTORIOUS (2009) Starring Jamal Woolard

Monday, 3 October 2011

The life and times of Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls certainly seemed to be short lived, I don't really remember to much about hip hop from the 80's and I'll be honest I only really heard of Biggie when P.Diddy as he was known then released that song Missing You.  This is a movie that I did actually want to see when it came out but I guess it's one of those ones I never really got round to.

Starring: Jamal Woolard, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke and Angela Bassett

The Plot
West coast vs East coat, the biggest rivalry in the world of hip hop and this biopic is the tale of two males Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur that nearly changed that rivalry forever.  The movie is of course the story of Biggie the East coast lyricist turned international rap superstar in what is a true rags to riches story.  Chronicling both his life and the night he was shot in Los Angeles, California with many believing he and his management Sean "P.Diddy" Combs were responsible for the shooting of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas.

Christopher George Latore Wallace - 1972 to 1997.

The Verdict

First off I have to tell you just how good the soundtrack is to this movie, I'm guessing if you like Biggie then you have probably seen the movie and enjoy his music anyway.  I have actually been listening to a lot of his music lately something I didn't do when he was big in the late 80's to early 90's, I'm just starting to realise what an impact his music actually had.

I suppose it's hard in this type of movie to put across someones life when they have made such a big impact on a culture like hip hop, biopics tend to be long for that reason but not in this case or at least it didn't feel to long.  I think we only got a glimpse into the life and sometimes shady underbelly of his world, he is painted as a pretty nice dude here and I'm sure he was at times but we all know his life and his friends were not really all that plain sailing.  He was never far away from violence and guns even when he did make it to the big time.

I've no doubt he had a pretty tough up bringing and we get glimpses into the more violent side of his life, particularly against women.  I don't think I have seen a biopic where the artist has not had another woman other than his wife and that other woman is on the receiving end of Biggie's volatile and violent temper on a few occasions.  The guy who played Biggie Smalls does a great job Jamal Woolard was an unknown in Hollywood when he done this movie and he really isn't much bigger now, I'm a little surprised by that due to his performance here.  Jamal himself is an aspiring rapper and in the movie he layed down the lyrics to biggies songs, in my opinion he didn't miss a beat.

The characters are not really given long enough to develop, it consists mainly of Biggie and his entourage.  Little is given to the members of the Junior M.A.F.I.A, Biggie's relationship with his wife, R&B star Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) or his affair with female rap star Lil Kim (Naturi Naughton) which he continued whilst married.

This biopic is one that for me will be remembered more for it's music than it's in depth story line, and I can't help but compare it to Get Rich Or Die Tryin (2005) starring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson a movie which I enjoyed in story better than this one.  Ultimately though as music bio's go my favourites would have to be Ray (2004) and Walk The Line (2005).

Would I watch it again?

Without doubt I would watch this again for the soundtrack alone.

Rating: MMM
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