Biggie and Tupac
dir. Broomfield
Opens Fri Aug 30
Cinema 21

While I support self-reference when it produces a good story, if your persona is unnecessary to the story, it's just plain boring. For instance, if you're a white limey making a movie about the conspiracy that killed Biggie and Tupac keep yourself out of the film.

The limey director of Biggie and Tupac, Nick Broomfield, is really quite talented at finding the right people to interview--Biggie's mom, Tupac's dad, an ex-LAPD detective who reveals the department's involvement in the murders of the two rappers--but he's not so good at prompting them to talk. This is because he puts people on the defensive. He walks self-righteously into an inner-city barbershop in Biggie's neighborhood, asking if the Notorious B.I.G. sold crack, and surprisingly, people have no comment. He interrupts and interrogates both Tupac's bodyguard and an ex-LAPD officer, both of whom are wearily trying to confirm Death Row Records Founder Suge Knight's involvement in the murders.

When Broomfield calls Reggie, the acting president of Death Row, he refuses to talk to Broomfield, because he says he's familiar with the director's way of thrusting himself into his films. This is a charming moment of comic relief, even though Broomfield discounts Reggie's claim. Instead, his insistence on filming himself sitting in waiting rooms, and talking on the telephone, continues to distract from the meat of the story.

Broomfield manages to competently explore, and yet dilute, one of the most interesting documentary topics ever. He reveals the conspiracy that killed Biggie and Tupac. He shows what a monster Suge Knight is, how the East Coast/West Coast gang rivalry got started, and how the corruption of the LAPD left the two murders unsolved. By the end of the film you'll exclaim, "Oh my fucking god!" Unfortunately, during the film you'll exclaim, "Oh my fucking God, why won't this guy shut his piehole."