Directed by George Tillman Jr.
The life story of rapper Notorious B.I.G.
Notorious is a “B.I.G. disappointment,” said Chris Richards in The Washington Post. The film chronicles the life and death of rap icon Notorious B.I.G., who was killed, at 24, just before the release of his foreboding Life After Death. Director George Tillman Jr. tries to cover every stage of Biggie’s life, “making for a frustrating dash from the playground to grave, all in under two hours.” His infidelities, his mother’s fight with breast cancer, and his rivalry with Tupac Shakur clip by in a “music-video-paced race.” As a result, the film plays like a “VH1 TV movie,” said Nathan Rabin in The Onion. Like many biopics, Notorious suffers from a “tendency to reduce complicated life to a greatest-hits assemblage of melodramatic highs and agonizing lows.” Notorious skimps on details but at least stays true to the “hellbent spirit of Biggie’s life,” said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. Newcomer Jamal Woolard delivers an uncanny lead performance that helps make Notorious a “luridly unapologetic trip through the violence, hunger, verbal bravado, and money fever of the hip-hop world.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The sexual politics of Game of Thrones just got enormously worse
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- The hidden reason for the student loan crisis
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Wounded in Boston, two brothers endure
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- The Democrats have a mega-donor problem
Subscribe to the Week