Famous (2023)

Famous (2023)

A weak and confusing attempt at a hip-hop drama



Brendan Jeffers, Farid Yazdani, Jas Dhanda
70 min


This is the type of movie you play in the background for the songs, not the story.

What it's about

Hip-hop artist Famous (Brendan Jeffers) and his brother, producer Plain Wayne (Brian Bisson), are a musical force to be reckoned with, but when Famous proposes leading a life outside music, Wayne intervenes in increasingly disturbing ways.

The take

I appreciate what Famous, the movie, tries to do with its small budget. To portray the wealthy and luxurious life Famous, the character, supposedly leads, the movie opts for clean minimalist designs and tasteful close-ups that don’t betray the scruffy studio it’s actually set in. And the music, produced by Friyie, provides a nice ambiance to Famous and Wayne’s fraught relationship. But those are the only good things you could say about this film; everything else is a flat-out mess. The story feels limp, the acting forced, the dialogue loaded with exposition, and the overall execution clunky. Also, tell me why doesn’t Famous rap even once in a movie centered around him? We’re constantly told that Famous is a celebrated rapper, but not once are we made privy to his skills. What was the reason? This choice, like pretty much everything about the movie, is just baffling.

What stands out

We may not get original songs from Famous, but at least Friyie scores the movie with fire tunes. Without much in the way of setting and extra characters, the movie relies on music to establish the New York hip-hop backdrop they desperately need. It’s a nice sound, with compelling lyrics that often match Famous and Wayne’s inner turmoil. But if the filmmakers were going to use music as a crutch, I wish they would’ve done more with it instead of depending on Friyie to single-handedly create the vibe for them.

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