City of Lies (2018)

City of Lies Poster

Los Angeles Police Department detective Russell Poole has spent years trying to solve his biggest case -- the murders of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur -- but after two decades, the investigation remains open. Jack Jackson, a reporter desperate to save his reputation and career, is determined to find out why. In search of the truth, the two team up and unravel a growing web of institutional corruption and lies.

Film Summary
"City of Lies" is a 2018 American criminal offense film directed by Brad Furman and composed by Christian Contreras, based on the unique "Maze" by Randall Sullivan. The movie checks out the story behind the investigation of the unsolved murders of rap artists Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Cast and Characters
"City of Lies" stars Johnny Depp as Russell Poole, a retired detective from Los Angeles Police Department, and Forest Whitaker as Jack Jackson, a journalist working together to resolve the cold case. The movie also stars Rockmond Dunbar, Neil Brown Jr., Xander Berkeley, and Shea Whigham in supporting roles.

Russell Poole (Johnny Depp) is a retired police officer who has invested practically two decades trying to break the unsolved murder case of The Notorious B.I.G. Also known as Biggie Smalls, a prolific rapper who was eliminated in a drive-by shooting in LA in 1997. His fascination with the case leads him into penetrating into the alleged participation of the LAPD in Biggie's death, indicating authorities corruption. Jack Jackson (Forest Whitaker), a reporter, shares a parallel interest in the event and tracks Poole down in an attempt to tell the reality through his reporting.

As the two work together, they explore a twisted web of conspiracy theories including gang rivalries, corruption within the LA Police Department, and the linkage of Biggie's death to the earlier murder of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas. The movie's narrative frequently jumps between the late 90s and 2015, when Poole and Jackson team up.

"City of Lies" explores themes of cops corruption, conspiracy, and systemic racism. It dissects the institutional failures that enabled these high-profile murders to remain unsolved, highlighting the implied bigotry in the very little efforts taken by authorities to investigate the deaths of these pivotal figures in Black culture and music.

"City of Lies" had difficulties in its release, having actually been pulled from its initial schedule due to Depp's offscreen legal problems, and was eventually launched Video as needed in early 2021. The film received mixed reviews, with critics commending Depp's and Whitaker's performances however critiquing the pacing and storytelling. It holds a 49% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based upon critics' reviews.

"City of Lies" offers an interesting peek into the notorious unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. It's anchored by strong performances from Depp and Whitaker and taps into the sustaining fascination with these cases, the cultural figures at their center, and the underlying issues of systemic bigotry and police corruption in America. While it was delayed in release and got mixed evaluations, "City of Lies" stands as a thought-provoking police procedural that adds to the cultural conversation around these considerable cases.

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