6.7/10
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Notorious (2009)

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The life and death story of Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), who came straight out of Brooklyn to take the world of rap music by storm.

Director:

George Tillman Jr.
9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamal Woolard ... Christopher 'Biggie' Wallace
Momo Dione ... Record Executive at Party (as Mohamed Dione)
Derek Luke ... Sean 'Puffy' Combs
Dennis L.A. White ... Damion
Marc John Jefferies ... Cease
Menyone DeVeaux ... Hot Girl #1
Christopher Jordan Wallace ... Biggie (Age 8-13)
Ricky Smith ... Wally
Amanda Christopher Amanda Christopher ... Keisha
Angela Bassett ... Voletta Wallace
Jasper Briggs Jasper Briggs ... Damion (Age 8-13)
Cyrus Farmer ... Selwyn
David Costabile ... Mr. Webber
Julia Pace Mitchell ... Jan
Jermaine Denny Jermaine Denny ... Primo
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Storyline

NOTORIOUS is the story of Christopher Wallace. Through raw talent and sheer determination, Wallace transforms himself from Brooklyn street hustler (once selling crack to pregnant women) to one of the greatest rappers of all time; THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Follow his meteoric rise to fame and his refusal to succumb to expectations - redefining our notion of "The American Dream." Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No dream is too big See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Notorious B.I.G. Project See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,497,596, 18 January 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$36,842,118, 29 March 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jamal Woolard heavily prepared for his role for months, which includes listening and remembering lyrics to a variety of songs by Biggie, gaining weight and vocal lessons at Juilliard School to get the voice right. See more »

Goofs

After Biggie records "Sky is the Limit" a view of the New York skyline appears showing the New York Times building. Construction of this building began in 2003 was completed in 2007. The scene takes place 1997. See more »

Quotes

Faith Evans: Are you a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to be bad?
Notorious B.I.G.: I'm just trying to make it big.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The unrated cut features seven minutes of extended footage as well as an opening sequence involving the "Impala SS" killer. See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Gimme the Loot
Written by The Notorious B.I.G. (as Christopher Wallace), Easy Mo Bee (as Osten S. Harvey), Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Phife Dawg, Fredro Starr (as Fred Scruggs), Sticky Fingaz (as Kirk Jones), Tyrone Taylor, Bryan Higgins, Busta Rhymes (as Trevor Smith) and James Jackson
Performed by Jamal Woolard, Marc John Jefferies and Lamont 'Money L' Mosley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
No, No, No
18 June 2009 | by DelBongoSee all my reviews

This film reminded me of The Sopranos, and not in a good way.

David Chase's seminal mob opera only ever put its foot wrong twice, the most jarring and inexplicable instance of which took place in its fourth season, when Junior Soprano went on trial for his life. Rather than pursue this riveting (and pivotal) plot line, the writers instead chose to completely ignore it, focusing instead on Bobby Baccalieri's constant whimpering over his recently deceased wife's frozen pasta dish.

When something of genuine interest happens in Notorious - for example that first, mysterious assassination attempt on Tupac Shakur that ignited the whole East Coast/West Coast feud in the first place, and ended up leading to the deaths of both Tupac and Christopher Wallace - the film treats it as just another bit of plot to plod through. Why exactly was Tupac so convinced that he was sold out by his own people? Did he alone nurture his subsequent affiliation with Suge Knight? And was Lil' Kim's transformation from prim office drone into sex-obsessed, vampish diva really as banal as it appears here?

None of these questions are even fleetingly addressed by the film's screenwriters, who are far more interested in depicting Wallace's turbulent love life to zero compelling dramatic avail. These sequences (including a brain-frazzlingly clichéd groupie indescretion in a hotel room) are so toothless and bruisingly manipulative that the only real comparison to be made is with a network TV movie.

The storytelling, in both structure and content, is simplistic and trite. But more fundamentally, as a biopic; as something designed to celebrate its subject and educate the uninitiated on the intricacies of their life and work; the film is almost entirely worthless. The reliance on meat-and-potatoes genre plotting, coupled with the lifeless musical performances (an area in which a film like this should soar, surely) result in a film that appears to have been designed only to satisfy the whims and demands of those involved, leaving Wallace's questionable status as a giant in his field as the preserve of the easily persuaded and previously converted only.

And the final twenty minutes, in which Wallace's posthumous cultural identity is broadly painted as being akin to that of a latter day saint, quite frankly made me feel like throwing up.

On that score, much as with any other, Notorious is crass, calculating and compromised.


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