All Eyez on Me
- Katherine McLaughlin
- 26 June 2017
Slapdash biopic of Tupac Shakur that's both offensive and apparently inaccurate
Director Benny Boom fails to dig deep to tell the life story of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur who was shot dead at the age of 25 in 1996. Hastening through the years, he introduces people of significance in a frustratingly slapdash manner, apparently making stuff up (see Shakur's close friend Jada Pinkett Smith's Twitter feed for more details) as he goes along. There's a compelling story to be told but Boom never pauses long enough to draw a complex portrait of the rapper raised by Black Panthers.
Shakur (played by doppelganger Demetrius Shipp Jr) relays his past to a reporter from Clinton Correctional Facility in 1995 where he was serving a sentence for sexual abuse. For the most part, his story is told via flashbacks with the reporter filling in the details by explaining them out loud.
Danai Gurira from The Walking Dead gives the role of Afeni (Shakur's mother) everything she's got. We first meet her at eight-months pregnant in 1971, delivering a passionate speech after defending herself from a potential 300-year prison term. Interest is piqued early on as to what influence she will have on the rapper, but Boom doesn't spend enough time exploring their fraught relationship. In fact, every time his film threatens to get thought-provoking it loses focus and jumps quickly to the next scene. It's the visual equivalent of listening to a broken CD, skipping infuriatingly from one track to the next without ever arriving at a stirring chorus.
The depiction of the victim of the sexual assault which landed Shakur in jail is morally repugnant, the concert scenes are mostly tepid, the dialogue is made up predominantly of platitudes and the entire film borders on hagiography. Furthermore, All Eyez on Me lacks cinematic flair, with its energy and rhythm severely hampered by dodgy editing and a wandering eye that appears to be fixated on women's butts.
General release from Fri 30 Jun.