In the 1990s the rap game had become mainstream and with its growing success, the financial implications were massive. Mo money, mo problems. Tupac Shakur was right in the middle of everything and his story is one worth knowing, telling and reliving. All Eyez on Me follows the life of this amazing artist from the beginning until his tragic end.
On one fateful night in September of 1996, Tupac lost his life due to gun violence but it couldn’t erase a lifetime of achievements. He didn’t start on top but he was always destined for greatness. Born in a time where racial tensions were at a high point and finding a platform to express oneself was paramount. The 70s were a violent time and young Tupac saw more than any young kid should be exposed to. He witnessed through his own eyes just how unfair the world could be. Between these incidents and the powerful inner strength that his mother (Danai Gurira) displayed, he would be set upon a path that would soon define him.
As Tupac (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) grew older he became more focal and made a name for himself in the rap world. Like anything else, success leads to jealousy which leads to hate. From there turning back to simpler times just wasn’t an option. The trials and tribulations of one young man’s life is on display front and center for all to judge. All Eyez on Me is as fitting a title as could be.
There will be those that remember most of the details as they were laid out in various media outlets and publications. Then there will be others that were either casual followers of Tupac’s life or ones that know very little other than the fact that he was a rapper who passed long before his time. In either case though, All Eyez on Me will bring to light controversial, disputed and embellished accounts of what actually happened in his life. Remember that there are often two sides to every story and then, of course, there’s the truth.
Director Benny Boom tries to create a masterpiece with a canvas that can never be covered completely. All Eyez on Me is not a bad movie but will prove to be a difficult one to tell and probably sell. While the movie should resonate with fans, the average potential customer will most likely skip it just because. From a performance standpoint, Demetrius Shipp Jr. stands out visually due to his striking resemblance to the man that he’s playing. Others that stand out are Danai Gurira and Dominic L. Santana. The intensity level is kicked up a notch or two but it isn’t enough to be deafening.
The best things that All Eyez on Me has going for it would be the music, some of the acting and the powerful messages/lessons. The runtime was a little long and sometimes the train leaves the track just for a minute or two. With a little more focus this could have been a bit shorter and stayed more consistently to the main story being told. For the right audiences, this movie will be a cheer (and weep) worthy trip down memory lane as we’re exposed to one of the greatest minds in entertainment history. If you think that you’re one of the ones that could possibly embrace this movie then you probably can. You can see this in theaters now.