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Notorious

As mainstream hip hop becomes ever more predictable, so do the biopics about its stars. Like the Eminem and 50 Cent movies before it, ‘Notorious’ tells of a fatherless ghetto child seduced into the thug life who achieves financial and personal salvation through music. And while George Tillman Jr’s film never tries to sugar coat the truth of Biggie Smalls’s short life, his inability to find a new angle on this timeworn tale leaves the film feeling stale and pedestrian.
‘Notorious’ is co-produced by Smalls’s mother, Voletta Wallace, with exec producer Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs looming large over proceedings. What’s surprising is how willing they are to showcase the darker side of Biggie’s personality: he’s a womaniser, willing to sell crack to a pregnant woman, ignore his children and attack his wife. An unconvincing third act redemption aside, this is a warts-and-all portrait.

But in every other aspect, ‘Notorious’ is exactly the film its pedigree would suggest. It checks off all the gangsta rap boxes: first street battle, first arrest, first live show. It’s directed in drab fashion and its characters are left unexplored: Voletta is the archetypal long-suffering saint, with Diddy as the reliable businessman keeping his charge on an even keel. And when it comes to the issue of commerce, the filmmakers try to have their cake and eat it, filling the screen with an orgy of hot cars and free-flowing Moët while still attempting to convince their audience that money ain’t everything.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday February 13 2009
Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: George Tillman Jr
Screenwriter: Reggie Rock Bythewood, Cheo Hodari Coker
Cast: Jamal Woolard
Derek Luke
Angela Bassett
Dennis L.A. White
Marc John Jefferies
Christopher Jordan Wallace

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|18
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el_indio

music, cinema and art is well and truly dead if this shower of shit is capturing the youth's imagination.

Kim W

This film is really good, better than i thought it would be!! thumbs up from me!!!

Kim W

This film is really good, better than i thought it would be!! thumbs up from me!!!

Knobs

How can so many people rate this film so high without actually seeing it? I will probably wait until it's been out a while so the cimena isn't filled with knobs with their jeans around the ankles and pants hanging out.

Nicole

I was never a biggie an although i know a few of his songs; but i loved this film..! it gave me a good insight into his short life, however the only thing that confused me was actors playing roles such as puff, lil kim n faith evans..? Great film, got a good buzz from it :)

Nicole

I was never a biggie an although i know a few of his songs; but i loved this film..! it gave me a good insight into his short life, however the only thing that confused me was actors playing roles such as puff, lil kim n faith evans..? Great film, got a good buzz from it :)

Rahman

Films was amazing! Not to over done at all and alot more realistic unlike 50's get rich or die trying. Defo a film to be watched whether or not your a Biggie fan!

Rahman

Films was amazing! Not to over done at all and alot more realistic unlike 50's get rich or die trying. Defo a film to be watched whether or not your a Biggie fan!

adam1621

Can someone translate into english what the first guy said.....................?

kh4nv1ct

DIS FILM IS GNA BE A HIT TRUS ME BUT RALLY N TRULLY DAY SHUD OV DUN 1 ABOUT 2PAC ALTHOUGH BIGGI GT A SIK FLO BUT 2PAC IS BIG N DA GAME TRUS ..... BUT IM GNA WATCH IT TMRW N I SEE HW IT IS ....

kh4nv1ct

DIS FILM IS GNA BE A HIT TRUS ME BUT RALLY N TRULLY DAY SHUD OV DUN 1 ABOUT 2PAC ALTHOUGH BIGGI GT A SIK FLO BUT 2PAC IS BIG N DA GAME TRUS ..... BUT IM GNA WATCH IT TMRW N I SEE HW IT IS ....