1996 was a very important year for world music, not just for the Spice Girls hits or the national releases ‘É uma soccer match’, de Skank, and ‘On the street, in the rain, on the farm’ , by Kid Abelha, but also for the incredible news of the public murder of American rapper Tupac Shakur. Six months later, the murder of iconic rapper Notorious BIG returns to shake the United States. The two crimes have in common the fact that the two rappers were the protagonists of the greatest fight of all time in the hip-hop industry, in addition to the fact that neither of the two crimes was solved at this time. day. It is in this universe that we immerse ourselves in ‘City of Lies’, which is now available for rental on digital platforms.
Russell Poole (Johnny Depp) is a former Los Angeles Police detective, separated after working too hard on the Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG murder investigation One day he receives a visit from Jack Jackson (Forest Whitaker) a journalist who writes a special story about ten years since the murder of Christopher Wallace – alias Biggie. However, delving into the past not only triggers many memories for the obsessed cop, but will also touch on unhealed wounds, which shouldn’t be reopened because they’ve upset Los Angeles powerhouse too much.
Told through flashbacks narrated by the protagonist, “City of Lies” is a complex dramatic autobiography, whose plot is a tangle of complicated elements to which the viewer must pay attention to follow the thread. It’s not a straightforward movie for the average Brazilian viewer, who at best has only heard of these cases, but doesn’t know the details surrounding the relationship between the two rappers, let alone the crimes.
Based on Randall Sullivan’s book, Christian Contreras’ screenplay forwards the viewer to reporter Jack so that together we can build the puzzle to try and figure out what happened and how the episodes connect; at the same time, we listen to the story of the ex-policeman from his memories – therefore not impartial. Thus, the script opens up a range of very interesting options for the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
So Brad Furman’s staging might dare to provoke us, but the filmmaker opts for safe driving without major revelations – perhaps even afraid of spelling out unprovable truths in his film. Thus, the production takes on a quaaaase black tone, with a hypnotic and cadenced rhythm, similar to what we find in ‘True Detective’.
In a sober way, ‘City of Lies’ is a good option for those who like movies with a remarkable backstory. With Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker at the helm, ‘City of Lies’ invites reflection on the real reasons why great crimes go unresolved by police, wherever they are. It’s a film with a good dose of police suspense: something mysterious, a conspiracy theory as a backdrop and an approximation to the reality of the viewer.
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