Randall Sullivan's LAbyrinth is one of the more controversial true crime takes on the murders of East Coast/West Coast '90s hip hop titans Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. For those unaware of the book's existence, here's a quick official synopsis from the publisher:
"Acclaimed journalist Randall Sullivan follows Russell Poole, a highly decorated LAPD detective who in 1997 was called to investigate a controversial cop-on-cop shooting, eventually to discover that the officer killed was tied to Marion “Suge” Knight’s notorious gangsta rap label, Death Row Records. During his investigation, Poole came to realize that a growing cadre of black officers were allied not only with Death Row, but with the murderous Bloods street gang. And incredibly, Poole began to uncover evidence that at least some of these “gangsta cops” may have been involved in the murders of rap superstars Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur."
Now, LAbyrinth has been turned into City of Lies, the latest film from Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman, starring Johnny Depp as Poole, and Forest Whitaker as journalist Jack Jackson, who teamed up with the detective to help him try and crack the infamous case. There's a trailer for the picture, which promises an action procedural take on one of the great mysteries in the history of American pop culture.
Take a look:
Obviously, the biggest hurdle here for many viewers is going to be getting over Depp's very presence, as he's become an understandable "no go" for a solid section of the movie-watching population. Plus, there's the whole idea of turning Biggie and Tupac's murder into the jumping off point for a pulp thriller, which is sort of a morally dicey storytelling proposition. That said, this actually looks like a bit of trashy fun, with some solid LA location photography.
Here's hoping there's a good movie hiding beneath all this #problematic material when City of Lies hits theaters September 7th.