Notorious Movie Review
Since Biggie's death, the David Hasselhoff of the game, Piff Diddles has remixed everything that Biggie has ever done a dozen times. Even old phone conversations will do it. I bet the next album will consist of beats backing Biggie ordering Chinese over the phone.
After the Biggie Duets and the world's most pointless greatest hits album, (if you own both his albums why bother?) It must have been an act of great restraint for Sean Combs to resist titling this film, about Chris Wallace, his close friend and cultural icon, "The Notorious B.I.G. – The Sean Combs story."
Okay, all Hip Holitics aside, Notorious is the story of Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls who became one of the most popular rap artists in the 1990s until he was gunned down at the very young age of 24.
Perhaps the greatest surprise of all of Notorious is that the newer and lesser-known actors outshine the veterans. I was a little disappointed Mase wasn't in the film but I guess he wasn't an important factor in the movie. Although the majority of the casting and performances were on point, the actor playing Pac didn't look anything like him. Jamal Woolard though, is a revelation as Biggie Smalls. from his apparent physical mass, to the heavy breathing, blatant moral contradictions and natural mic skills, Woolard is Biggie.
The problem with this telling of Wallace's life is that while the filmmakers are busy making a vanity project, they forget to show why Wallace was such a unique talent and in what cultural context his raps flourished. some concert scenes suggest the filmmakers were concerned about whether this would be a film you could dance to, which it certainly is. It's also a perfectly serviceable rise-and-fall gangster flick.
Thankfully though not everything in Notorious is too sanitised. The films soundtrack is anything but. I couldn't help but smile as various tracks from my iPod playlist entitled "Golden Era" popped up on screen. Biggie's famous hit single Hypnotize plays multiple times throughout the running time of the movie yet at the same time Mo' Money Mo' Problems, never made an appearance.
Notorious touches on all the bases of Christopher Wallace's life. For those unfamiliar with all the details, it's an interesting and entertaining story. nonetheless, the filmmakers chose to place him on a pedestal in the film. By doing so, they imply that Biggie was detached from the violent world which he was a part of. That somehow he was an unsuspecting victim who had nothing to do with his own demise. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle – that at times he could be Biggie the Teddy Bear and at other times, Biggie the Thug.
Instead of a glorified biopic, Notorious needed to present more of a balanced portrait but it settled for an excessively sentimental and by the numbers treatment.