Notorious is a film made in 2009 based on the true story of the life of Christopher Wallace. The film starts out with at a party in 1997 in Los Angeles. Wallace, otherwise known by his stage name the Notorious Big (he is also known as Biggie Smalls, Big Poppa, and Frank White) is sitting in a throne overseeing a party to promote the release of his second album. He is watching as people are dancing to his music and having fun. Then it shows Biggie riding in his car leaving with his crew. They pull up to a read light and a black Impala pulls up to the right of them. Biggie is sitting in the passenger seat up front. The driver in Impala pulls out a gun and fires a shot at Wallace. The film then cuts to the beginning of Christopher’s life in. The movie follows 3 main characters, Christopher Wallace, his mother Voletta, and his friend, D-Roc. His parents moved from Jamaica and his father left him when he was young. It shows him in 1983 when he was 10 years old, and growing up in the streets of Brooklyn, New York. He is sitting outside his school with one of his classmates and singing some raps from songs that he likes. Him and D-Roc, then discuss how they are going to be famous one day, then get teased by some girls playing on the playground. Then Voletta, comes and picks him up to walk him home, since the streets are too dangerous for a kid to be walking by himself. His mother refuses to let him walk passed the stoop to their apartment alone. One day, when Biggie was 12, he was rapping on the apartment stoop. He saw all the kids out in the streets with gold and expensive jackets. He decided that he would have to disobey his mother and leave the porch. Chris goes out and meets D-Roc, and he shows him all the ropes to drug dealing and selling crack in the streets. He spends his free time rap battling other rappers for fun. Biggie begins to love making money and buying things. He says, “Those gangsters were addicted to coke on the first hit, but I was addicted to money from the first sale” The movie then jumps to when Big Poppa is 17. He makes crack underneath his bed, and has skipped many school days to advance in the drug dealing game. He has an internal conflict when he realizes he doesn’t want to live an average life, and doesn’t want to go to school. He then goes on a date with his girlfriend Jan. He finds out he will be a father soon. He goes home and his mom finds out that he has been skipping school. They get in a fight over this. Christopher then has an external conflict with her because he tells her Jan is pregnant, and this makes him seem even more irresponsible. His mom also discovers the coke under his bed and realizes that he has been drug dealing. She kicks him out of the house. Biggie gets caught dealing and goes to jail. He becomes depressed and writes his thoughts into raps. He comes out and starts dealing again so he can support Jan and the baby. People realize how good of a rapper he is with his new material from jail. Him and D-Roc get caught dealing again, and D-Roc takes the fall for biggie, because he already was arrested and he realizes how much potential he has. Biggie was sent free, but felt terrible for D-Roc and very selfish. He decides he owes it to D-Roc to become a famous rapper. He meets Sean “Puffy” Combs, a producer for a small record label, who promises him a record deal. Then Puffy tells Biggie that he had been fired from his job, and that it would be tough to get him a label. Biggie finds out that his mother has breast cancer, and wants to make money to pay for the surgery to remove a lump in her chest. He has an internal conflict because he feels that he can’t make it big and support his mom and make D-Roc proud. Puffy forms his own label, Bad Boy Records, and Biggie goes into the recording studio. During all of this, Biggie is cheating on Jan for a girl named Kim Jones. He rarely spends time with his daughter. He then meets Faith and marries her after knowing her for 3 weeks. He totally disregards Jan, Kim and his mother. Biggie releases his first album, Ready to Die, because of all the bad things going around in his life. He makes it big and becomes famous. He starts going to parties with famous rapper, Tupac Shakur, from Los Angeles. One of the members of Biggie’s crew sees him in the streets and tells him to come up to their hotel room. Somebody shoots Tupac and he thinks Biggie set him up. An external conflict breaks out between Biggie and Tupac, as well as East and West coast rappers. Tupac and Biggie become enemies and people their shows start fights over the rivalry. The conflict becomes so serious that Biggie calls Jan, Faith, his mom and his children in for one last dinner. The eat and then Biggie departs into L.A. To promote his new album, “Life after Death.” It then goes to the climax, which was the begging scene where Biggie gets shot and killed. It reaches its resolution. He becomes recognized as one of the greatest rappers to ever live, and the East vs. West coast rivalry overcome their differences after his death. People on the East coast dance and sing to his music, and mourn his death in the streets. His mom sees how much of an impact he had.
Part 2: The Execution
There are some specific techniques the director used to enhance the film. One would be the High Angel shot. It is used when Biggie is in Jail and writing lyrics to show he is powerless and hopeless. It is also used when Biggie is in the West coast and is getting harassed by Tupac fans. Another film technique would be the low key lighting when Biggie is drug dealing. The dim lights show that the business is dark and wrong to do. It uses a flash back after showing Christopher’s death, then goes to the beginning of his life. This is used to gain interest to new audiences, as they will want to see exactly how and why he died. Non-Digetic sound is used throughout the film. His music is played in the background. Songs that he wrote about specific times in his life are played during those times in the movie to show how good of a story teller and rapper he is.
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