Thursday, January 26, 2006

Movie Review: Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Rap music is a fascinating phenomenon, particularly when you understand the motivation of many rap artists who have used the music to liberate themselves from their low socioeconomic conditions and the very subversive sentiments derived from the performer's lives. 8 Mile is an excellent example of a loosely autobiographical account of Eminem's own journey on the back of rap music that provides real insight into the "meaning" of rap. The same cannot be said for Get Rich or Die Tryin'. It purports to be based on Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's life story from being a drug dealer to a change of life with rap music being the motivator, along with some pretty dark events that involved his being shot nine times (in the one incident) and coming very close to dying. But there is almost no redeeming aspects of the movie. Apparently the movie significantly distorts the truth about 50 Cents' life story and tends to glamorise and sanitise the activities he engaged in as a drug dealer. The film opens with a street shooting and Marcus (Curtis Jackson), a gang leader, lies bleeding on the ground as his life flashes before him - providing the narrative plot of the movie. We discover that Marcus has no father, his mother sells drugs to support the family, mother is murdered, Marcus takes over the drug distribution, is sent off to prison, discovers his "true self", leaves prison and tries to start a new life by becoming a rapper, but gets drawn back into the drug scene "by necessity". All nice, predictable stuff! The acting is woeful. At no time do we actually feel as though the characters are authentic and the dialogue is completely unbelievable at times. The editing is very poor and events seem disconnected and considerable work needs to be done to maintain a sense of continuity of the plot. On top of all that, 50 Cent's music is absolutely atrocious. I appreciate some of Eminem's material - so I am not against rap music per se - there's some good stuff out there. But if the film's music is any indication of 50 Cent's rap abilities then I will never place my ears near a track of his again and he should abandon his musical career before he completely ruins the reputation of rap music. The lyrics are simplistic, the rhythms of the lyrics seem to be out of sync with the music, and the music supporting the lyrics is lifeless and boring. The characters are riddled with cliche and stereotyping. I nearly laughed out loud (in what was supposed to be a very serious scene) when a drug king (Bill Duke) sounds exactly like Marlon Brando in the Godfather films! It was such an obvious rip-off I couldn't believe it! Stay rich by not spending your money on this one -- you will feel like you are dying as you attempt to sit through it. My Rating: *1/2 (out of 5) Positive Review 'A film with a rich and convincing texture, a drama with power and anger.' - Roger Ebert/Chicago-Sun Times Negative Review 'A disaster on all levels.' - Bill White/Seattle Post-Intelligencer Content Warning Strong violence, pervasive language, drug content, sexuality and nudity

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