I had missed this film when it played in the theaters. This wasn't that hard a feat as it was in released for approximately 6 minutes. By the time I realized that Nick Broomfield's BIGGIE AND TUPAC was playing "at a theater near me", I was promptly informed that the film would be coming out on DVD. Having seen KURT AND COURTNEY, Mr. Broomfield's doc on the mysterious death of NIRVANA lead singer Kurt Cobain, I was quite pleased when LOE tapped me to review this DVD for the website.I must say however, BIGGIE AND TUPAC left me a bit disappointed. Lets first start off by saying that Nick Broomfield has "balls the size of church bells". He has absolutely no fear and is completely subservient to the story he is trying to tell with his documentaries. People often warn him throughout BIGGIE AND TUPAC to not go to this place, to not interview that person, not to ask that question and he simply smiles and forges ahead. This probably has a great deal to do with why his documentaries are so compelling and insightful. He is never afraid to ask the truly tough questions and he has a very special way of drawing otherwise closed up people of their shell and make them very forthcoming in their answers because they truly want to come across in a certain way. The more honest they are, the more truthful Mr. Broomfield will present them it seems.All of the aforementioned traits are on display here. The problem that I have with this movie is that the conclusion that Mr. Broomfield draws about the murders of BIGGIE AND TUPAC are far to vague. This film raises many questions, poses a lot of truths (or alleged truths) but in the end it seems to cop out of actually taking the definitive stand that such films as KURT AND COURTNEY and the films about the MEMPHIS THREE do. In those films, there is no grey area. In BIGGIE AND TUPAC the questions abound: -Was it the East Coast/West Coast rivalry that led to BIGGIE AND TUPAC's demise?-Did Suge Knight set this whole thing up because Tupac was going to leave his record label and have Knight audited? Did he in fact get officers from the LAPD to do it and make the killings look gang related so that Biggie would then be killed? -Was it the FBI who had been monitoring bother Biggie Smalls and Sean Combs?
- Additional scenes
- Commentary from Director Nick Broomfield
- Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur discographies
- Christopher Wallace memorial fund information
- Trailer reel
Broomfield uses his film to shed light on all of these possibilities and my general feeling is that the truth lies somewhere in all of the questions. From what I can gather the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was used as a smokescreen so that Suge Knight could kill Tupac who was indeed going to be leaving DEATH ROW RECORDS. The LAPD were used (and paid by Knight it is assumed) to make this thing look like a gangland hit so that Tupac's crew would then take out Biggie. This would then take most of the heat away from Suge Knight who had orchestrated the whole thing. The only thing that doesn't jibe is the FBI angle, which likens Hip Hop culture to the Black Panther movement and that is why it was being looked at. Either way, I wish that Mr. Broomfield would have continued the film a bit longer or at least have taken more of stand on why he thought BIGGIE AND TUPAC were killed. He seems to lean toward Suge Knight but the other things like the FBI angle seem to cloud the issue. All that said, I must give Nick Broomfield kudos for the film he made. He never wavered in the face of hostility and adversity and confronted everyone and everything in front of him head on.
Biggie and Tupac was released January 11, 2002.