Saturday 23 August 2008

True Stories: Biggie and Tupac (2002) - ickleReview (4oD)

Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Photo source: Razor & Tie Media Services.

This Nick Broomfield documentary is about the murders of US rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (aka Notorious B.I.G., Christopher Wallace). Broomfield snoops around the dodgy characters that surrounded these people, including ex-LAPD officers, Voletta Wallace (Biggie's mom), Marion "Suge" Knight (Tupac's producer at Death Row Records), body guards, associates, and lawyers. It's a very confusing case, and Broomfield doesn't really do anything to clear it up. There are too many names all loosely related. Too many conspiracy theories and rumours, such as that the FBI were involved in the murders to smear the reputation of hip-hop. The East Coast - West Coast rivalry stops hip-hop being positive and thus supposedly prevents hip-hop becoming a uniting and revolutionary force like the Black Panther movement of the 1960s and 70s, which the government would see as a threat.

Broomfield is often on camera with his boom microphone. One of his potential interviewees actually complains about one of his previous films that makes Broomfield look clever and all his interviewees look stupid. He is good at just letting these characters come out on camera. They are sometimes surprisingly candid, but these hip-hop people tend to speak in code, so when they say, "You know what I'm sayin'?" it's often not clear at all what they're getting at because they assume you know so much more than you do.

Nugget: not a particularly good film. Certainly don't watch it if you want to know what actually happened.

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