Movie Review: Brad Furman’s City of Lies

City of Lies, directed by Brad Furman and based on the book, LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan, takes a different more in depth approach to not only the case of Christopher ‘Biggie Smalls’ Wallace but the entire scope of the Los Angeles police department. 

Former LAPD detective, Russell Poole, portrayed by Johnny Depp and Journalist, Jack Jackson, portrayed by Forest Whitaker have an intriguing dynamic and relationship. Forest Whitaker’s character is a notable journalist in Los Angeles who in 2015 approaches Detective Poole (Johnny Depp) to ask him questions about the case, which was seemingly still ongoing. 

As the film continues, the two actors seem to feed off of the other one’s emotions and immerse themselves back and forth around the time lines that are being displayed on screen. He quickly learns the harsh reality and is well aware of how the LAPD is perceived and accepted at the time in 1997. 

Not only for what happened to Biggie, but for the entire department being viewed under the microscope of the public and the media due to the Rodney King trial in 1993 and the O.J. SImpson trial in 1995. 

Jack Jackson faces his own line of backlash as he attempts to talk to Commander Fasulo, the new head of the LAPD. During this exchange, Jackson learns the hidden slanderous secrets the department created about Poole and the leads on this case are well above Jackson and Poole’s pay grade, making this case a never ending cycle of corruption.

The film does an excellent job of keeping the viewers engaged with the story and showing the different perspectives of eye witnesses during the night of the crime but also from the eyes inside the department. With so many different officers being undercover, the LAPD has no idea that an entire Kingpin mob was being orchestrated by their own. 

City of Lies is set to release on March 19, 2021 by Saban Films and will be available on streaming platforms by April 9. 

Malik Patterson

Malik Patterson is a journalism student at California State University, Northridge. He has attained an Associates of Arts in Cinema and Broadcasting at Chaffey College. He will also be graduating with a Bachelor's Degree of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting in May 2021. Malik is also a member of the National Honors Society and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In his spare time, he has a podcast that has been running since May 2020, called the 2Brothers Podcast exclusively on YouTube. He sees himself working as a sports broadcaster and anchor for a major network in the near future. He has a true passion for sports and also coached track and field at two high schools in the past: Etiwanda High School and Alta Loma High School, both located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

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