Friends who fell out, rappers Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious BIG) ultimately both became victims of drive-by shootings. Years later, doc filmmaker Nick Broomfield investigates.
As the title suggests, Biggie And Tupac functions as a companion piece to Nick Broomfield's previous film, Kurt And Courtney. Again, the British documentary maker is intrigued by the untimely demise of an American musician - in this case, a pair of twinned, unsolved murders - and again he holds little faith in the official version of events. However, if you thought that Broomfield had provoked a formidable foe in Courtney Love, just wait to you see his jailyard showdown with fearsome rap mogul Suge Knight. If Broomfield's thesis proves even half-way correct, the man with the fuzzy microphone will be lucky to survive the year.
Persistent critics contend that Broomfield's documentaries are exercises in self-promotion, and certainly the first half of this movie is littered with investigative dead-ends included for (often funny) comic respite. However, soon enough you get the feeling that he is really onto something - a tangled web of racism, money and ego that takes you deep into the dark heart of L.A..
Unlike Kurt And Courtney, Broomfield has more than mere conspiracy theories to chew on this time around, and once his tenacity starts to yield real breakthroughs, the second half builds to a compelling climax. Since Broomfield patented his affable English patter - Miss Marple with a mic - this alien-abroad territory has been further mapped by Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux amongst others, and yet Broomfield remains an investigative irritant without peer.
Despite the fact that Biggie And Tupac - in common with all Broomfield films - is subjective and uneven, the results are entertaining, charming, shocking and oddly affecting. While he might lack the righteous indignation of a crusader (see Michael Moore's 1989 film, Roger And Me), Broomfield has rediscovered the persistent instincts of a yard dog. Good for him.
Much more successful and satisfying than Kurt And Courtney, Biggie And Tupac retains the power to shock, but more importantly proves intellectually and emotionally convincing. Sensational stuff.