ALL EYEZ ON ME (2017) SCORE: A
RATED: R LENGTH: 140 minutes
“ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FILMS OF THE YEAR”
I attended the screening of ALL EYEZ ON ME together with the General Manager of KCEP-FM in Las Vegas, Mr. Craig Knight. I also brought with me Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist B. Taylor. Sitting in-between these two resources, we talked both before and after the screening. I asked a lot of question. It was important that this review of this overlong film be fair and accurate. The film is directed by music-video veteran Benny Boom. That explains the overall atmosphere as the complicated story unfolds.
For more than a decade the office where I worked at — was located on East Flamingo Road, less than a mile from Koval Lane – the intersection where Tapuc Shakur was murdered. His achievements are staggering. By 2007, this rapper and actor had sold more than 75 million records. Today, his influence is still felt in the music business. Shaukr is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time. He was 25 years old.
Six months later, The Notorious B.I.G. was assassinated in Los Angeles at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Biggie was only 24 years old. While there remains numerous theories of just who ordered the death of each young men; and who did the actual killings — to this day no arrests have ever been made.
Both Mr. Knight and B. stressed the importance of three different generations going to see this film. There are so many young persons who were born after his murder (Generation X). They may know of Tupac’s music, but may not know the story behind the name. Then there are the two Baby Boomer generations — including some who like myself, can sing every lyric to CALIFORNIA LOVE. Those were the days when Shakur fans danced and partied the nights away.
There are some in the music business who feel that the murder of Biggie enabled Jay Z to fill that void; and the murder of Shakur enabled Ice Cube to fill that void.
ALL EYEZ ON ME, as a biographical drama has some distinguished performances. Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac Shakur should certainly be considered for an Oscar nomination. He not only looks the part, but is able to successfully provide the wide range of emotions, appearing in almost 100% of the film. I also feel that Danai Gurira’s performance as Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur, should be considered for an Oscar nomination.
Kat Graham plays the role of Jada Pinkett. By the reaction of the audience, those not familiar with the story seemed to be surprised by her close relationship with Shakur. Dominic L. Santana plays Suge Knight, the co-founder and CEO of Death Row Records. Knight played football for two years here at UNLV. He went on to play football for the Los Angeles Rams. Jamal Woolard remains the perfect actor to play Biggie Smalls.
This is by no means a perfect movie. It has its flaws. However, ALL EYEZ ON ME (which was the name of Shakur’s fourth studio album and the last to be released in his lifetime) is still an important film to be seen. He was so talented and so gifted. Despite his home environment and the challenges he faced growing up as a Black man in America, his profound legacy remains.
Surprisingly loved the review for All Eyez On Me. Didn’t think I would be interested in the film (not a big fan of biopics and never knew any of Tupac’s music besides California Love) but I took the time to watch the trailer and had goosebumps. It looks incredible. Definitely adding it my list of films to check out when I get the chance.