All Eyez on Me, a biographical film on Tupac, named after his fourth studio album (1996), is now out in cinemas in the UK. Directed by Benny Boom, and written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian. I went to see it yesterday, with anticipation and excitement, being aware of the bad or indifferent reviews I’d heard and read on social media. My personal view of the film left me with disappointment in many areas: All Eyez On Me spread itself far too thin and rushed through the full life that Tupac lived from his birth to his passing. Cultural context, some necessary details, and accuracy suffered as a result of this. I left the cinema with an understanding of the upset around the film and questioning “what exactly do I expect from a biopic?”
All Eyez on Me Trailer.
I will be sharing some of the conversation around the film:
11,501 people came together to give it an overall average rating of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“In trying to tell the whole story, inevitably the film has ended up spreading itself far too thin. This is a glossy, but largely quite a shallow representation of his life that too often feels quite ‘made for TV.’” — Tara Joshi for The Queitus.
“While there is some brilliant casting in All Eyez On Me, invigorating uses of Pac’s back catalogue and an attempt to squeeze so much information into a couple of hours, this is objectively not a great film.” — Tshepo Mokoena for Noisey.
https://twitter.com/jadapsmith/status/875747603601686528 — Jada Pinkett-Smith whose character is played in the film as a close friend of Tupac’s.
“Vince Staples on talks Tupac movie” with Everyday Struggle.
“Let me put this in perspective: when Spike Lee was doing Malcolm X, he had everybody on every street corner in Brooklyn and New York saying, ‘Spike, don’t mess up Malcolm X – this is too important to us.’ The people that were involved in this movie didn’t have that pressure at all, they just made a movie. They didn’t think of it as a cultural event, in terms of something that affected our generation, you know what I mean? People who are younger, who don’t really understand the legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur, they just go to a movie and they see a rap star. But dude was much more than a rap star. So that’s why I’m really upset.” – John Singleton, director of ‘Boyz n the Hood’.
John Singleton “All Eyez On Me” Was Worse Than The Aaliyah Biopic!
So what do I expect from a biopic?
A thorough and immersive narrative experience of the person/s life story, going above and beyond what you can read on the internet. A biopic should iron out rumors, and deliver a wholesome and contextual story. If not the person in subject, friends, and family should be involved as consultants. It shouldn’t brush over highlights but instead, paint a detailed picture.
An example of a great Biopic of recent times: