Critic Reviews



Based on 32 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A good film in many ways, but its best achievement is the casting of Jamal Woolard, a rapper named Gravy, in the title role.
Notorious makes the death of Biggie Smalls look like a tragic mistake, instead of the outgrowth of a culture devoted to selling the fantasy of who's the biggest man.
Layering his film with the songs that made his subject an icon, Tillman is aware that Biggie connected with his audience because he told stories others instantly understood. Notorious does that, too.
Much closer to Scorsese than "Scarface," Notorious gives a heartfelt yet clear-eyed sendoff to the late Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace.
Angela Bassett is great as his strict, single mother; The soundtrack is great, of course, and the ending features moving archival footage of the streets of Brooklyn after Wallace's murder.
What gives Notorious its staying power is what happens before AND after its hero's death.
The Hollywood Reporter
For a man apparently making his first film, Woolard carries the movie like a pro. Cross your fingers that this is no fluke, for this guy could be a real comer.
It's the spirit that Biggie Smalls, born Christopher Wallace, put into inventing himself and his music that ignites Notorious, a biopic that sees the flaws in the man but can't help accentuating the positive.
Notorious is like a piece of well-crafted bling. It looks good, and facets of it shine, but behind the gilded facade there's not much there. And what is there can be troubling and retrogressive.
It's an engaging enough story, crisply told, and the lip-synced music scenes in the studio and on stage are brought off in high style.
A fawning bio-pic.

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