‘Notorious’ is a one-time view


Notorious – 7/10

Many things can be said about Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. He was a boy trying to be a man, a man trying to make money, and above all, a rap icon for the east coast. The problem, however, with making biographical movies is there are no surprises. If you already know the story of Biggie’s life, then you know he struggled to make his way to the top of the rap world and eventually died. It’s the story of how he got there that is interesting and worth viewing. At least once.

Christopher “Biggie” Wallace (Jamal Woolard) sits on his porch writing lyrics because his single mother (Angela Bassett) doesn’t let him go out. One day, he leaves his porch and gets into selling crack with his friend. He gets a girl pregnant, his mom kicks him out for dealing and he goes to jail, all while still improving his rapping skills.

He gets out of prison, makes a demo tape, meets Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (Derek Luke) and the rest is history. He becomes one of the biggest rap artists of all time and is murdered in 1997 at age 24.

The rapper’s life story had everything that makes a good film: betrayals, friendships, love, lust, action, happiness and sadness. Director George Tillman Jr. portrayed all these aspects well throughout the course of “Notorious.”

The relatively unknown cast also performed beautifully, most notably during the scenes between Woolard and Bassett. The team was able to express so much emotion and displayed the strained relationship between the single mother and her son. One flaw was the casting of Luke as Puff Daddy. Luke, who recently starred in Spike Lee’s “Miracle At St. Anna,” seemed out of place and didn’t have the same swagger as the real-life Combs.

“Notorious” depicted the life of Biggie well, but that’s about it. It’s not overly entertaining or special and seeing it once would be enough.