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Not much of a tribute to Tupac: Review of All Eyez On Me by Rashid Irani

The film strives to explore the complexities of racial identity and the East Coast-West Coast rap feud, but fails, and ends up long-winded and flat.

movie reviews Updated: Jun 17, 2017 15:56 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Tupac Shakur,Rap,Music
Though the movie doesn’t quite hold up, newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr is a stunning actor — and bears a startling resemblance to Tupac.
  • Direction: Benny Boom
  • Actors: Demetrius Shipp Jr, Danai Gurira
  • Rating: 2.5 / 5

This long-gestating biopic of the hip-hop megastar Tupac Shakur glosses over the more unsavoury aspects of his life to piece together a somewhat sanitised portrait of the 1990s cultural icon.

Haphazardly assembled, the title is drawn from his 1996 album. The film uses an interview granted to a journalist while he was in prison on trumped-up charges of sexual abuse, to wind back to Tupac’s childhood in New York and his teen years in Baltimore and then California.

Raised a revolutionary by a mother who was an activist in the Black Panther movement, Tupac was shot in a dastardly act seemingly orchestrated by rival Black musicians. He survived, only to be gunned down again, this time fatally, in 1996.

He was 25. The murder remains unsolved.

If you still adore Tupac Shakur, and don’t mind giving up your afternoon for surround-sound strains of his spirited music, this one’s for you.

All Eyez on Me strives to explore the complexities of racial identity and the fallout of the East Coast-West Coast rap music feud, but the long-winded narrative provides barely any insight into the temperamental artist.

It is only his spirited music — snatches of tunes such as ‘California love’ complement the soundtrack — and a couple of terrific performances (by newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr, who bears a startling resemblance to the singer; and Danai Gurira, who plays his unflappable mother) that lend any excitement to the proceedings.

Recommended only for die-hard fans of the artiste.

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 15:55 IST