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:: Notorious B.I.G.

Despite his short life Notorious B.I.G. has left a long lasting legacy on the hip-hop world, and this legacy is captured brilliantly in ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ a drama that works wonderfully well and makes this film equal to ‘8 Mile.’

Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace (Jamal Woolard) grew up in a section of Brooklyn where you turned to crime or simply didn’t survive. After a short stint in prison (and another close shave) Biggie decided to turn his back on the crime and use his rapping skills to try and create a career for himself. A meeting with Sean ‘Puffy’ Coombs (Derek Luke) starts him on his way and this film studies not only his career but also his personal life, his relationship with the many women in his life, including his first girlfriend and his relationships with Lil Kim (Naturi Naughton) and Faith Evans (Antonique Smith). It also chronicles his feud with Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) that led to one of the biggest feuds in music history.

Many cinema-goers may be put off seeing a movie that revolves around the life of a famous rapper but they may be surprised to find out that this is a well written and beautifully acted drama that makes you care for the characters on the screen and want them to succeed. Director, George Tillman Jnr. manages to capture the gritty Brooklyn streetscape and makes this a truly personal story. He gives the film a touch of realness by including ‘real-life’ footage when he feels it is necessary and even manages to make the most violent parts of this film cinematically appealing.

One of the real stand-outs about ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ is that the casting guys got it completely right when they handed out the roles in this film. Casting for characters that actually exist and are part of pop culture must have been a nightmare, but they actually do manage to cast actors who look like Biggie, 2Pac, Puff Daddy and especially Faith Evans and Lil’ Kim.

‘Notorious B.I.G.’ is a great drama that consists of everything a good film needs. A good script, great acting and the ability to engross the audience in the film’s story. One of the better films to surface so far this year… this isn’t a film to be written off as ‘just-a-film-about-a-rapper’). A joy to watch.