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Old 01-19-2009, 09:08 PM
Notorious (2009)

Notorious (2009)



*** This Review contains spoilers ***

How do you make a proper and respectful movie on a Hip-Hop Legend? I mean it's been 12 years since his death and he's still the greatest Rapper of all time and in my opinion forever will be. Thats what I was thinking before seeing this. I didn't know how this one would turn out. Fortunately it came out GREAT! All the actors were solid, and played their parts respectfully with Jamal Woolard in the lead as Christopher 'Biggie' Wallace. Yes, this is another come up from nothing to something story, but this is one where you don't need to be a fan to understand or enjoy. However, being a fan before seeing this movie only made it better, it was nice to see his life up on the big screen and look back at the life he lived.

The movie starts out just as I had thought it would, with the shooting being shown in the beginning and then the rest of the movie happening like a flashback. The flashback starts out with a young Christopher Wallace rapping in the school yard, so we're shown even at a young age he was influenced by music. Early, we're also shown how protective his mother Voletta Wallace(Angela Bassett) was as all she wanted was a good life for her son. I must say Angela Bassett did an excellent job portraying Mrs.Wallace, from the look to speech, she had the character on point. Some actors didn't look exactly like their real life counterparts like Derek Luke as Sean 'Puffy' Combs or Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur. But little things like this were easy to look past as the story hooks you in immediately.

This movie really picked up for me about 15 minutes in, when we first see Jamal Woolard step in as Christopher a little bit older. We see him dealing with drugs in his room, having to hide plates full underneath his bed as he's still living at home with his mother. He has to hide all the flashy clothes/shoes/gear from his mother, as he's suppose to still be going to school. Once confronted about missing school so much, we get a great scene from both mother and son as he admits to drug trafficking and choosing the street over school. There were some scenes that I was really hoping would be in this, and thankfully I was not disappointed. When we first see Biggie step up to battle in the street, it was pretty intense, as it was done exactly like the real video of it. Once dropping that freestyle, its clear to see this kid has talent. Shortly after the street life begins to conflict with chance of making it out he has. As he is arrested for dealing right after becoming a father and getting a girl from his neighbourhood pregnant. Once in lockup, Biggie begins to write and form his craft. Once being released, his friends begin to see he's gotten better as an artist and could actually make some noise in Hip-Hop. One of those friends is Lil Cease played by Marc John Jefferies who was also in the Get Rich or Die Trying movie. One thing thats kinda funny though, is that the same actor that plays Cease as an adult also plays him as a kid earlier in the movie, you expect to see an older version, but he never ages. Soon after Puffy comes is introduced and he turns B.I.G. in to the Notorious one we all know and love.

For the rest of the movie we see Biggie have to deal with family drama, such as not seeing his oldest daughter enough, go through relationship troubles, back and forth between Lil' Kim and Faith Evans. We also see him have to deal with success and the highs and lows of the music industry. We are also shown many events re-enacted that were broad-casted all over the media when they originally happened. It was great to see how everything came together and how he reacted to many of those situations. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how this one ends, but even when it does, it hits you like you never seen it coming.

The script was great, when making a movie about someones life, no matter who the person may be, it's hard to compress someone's life in to 2 hours, but they pulled it off. They writers knew what parts to include and what not too. It was great seeing key parts of his career be added such as The Tupac shooting at the studio with Biggie being blamed and then the confrontation at the Source Awards.

What really makes the ending hit you hard, is that we see Christopher Wallace change as a person near the end of his life as if he knew it was coming to end. Any fan could tell you that death was always on his mind much like Tupac just from listening to his music and reading his lyrics, but it was quite effective to actually see it. We see him become a man, as a better father and an overall better person. One of the final scenes is of Mrs.Wallace riding in the backseat of a car coming from Christophers funeral. And as the car is driving we see her look out the window and in the street is all of her sons fans, also mourning the loss. This is when she realizes that even though she didn't support what he was doing, others did, and they listened when he spoke. It's a shame he was only on this earth for 25 years, but clearly he left his mark and will never be forgotten...not only through his music but now also through this movie.

Christopher George Latore Wallace
May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997.
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