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
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why Mindy Kaling — not Lena Dunham — is the body positive icon of the moment
- Why we need a maximum wage
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- 10 things you need to know today: April 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week