Written by DJ Darkness
Tupac: Conspiracy and Aftermath is a double-DVD set released to commemorate the 17-year anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death. Filmmaker Richard Bond tries to expose the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the still unsolved death of the famous rapper.
The first film, Conspiracy, discusses Tupac’s rise to fame as well as the evidence the filmmaker feel builds the conspiracy case around his death in September of 1996. The belief conveyed in the film is that Suge Knight of Death Row Records and Reggie Wright of Wright Way Security were the men behind the shooting. Bond contends that Shakur was killed in order to keep him from leaving Death Row and taking with him 152 unreleased tracks that were worth over a $100 million.
Conspiracy includes interviews from some of Tupac’s friends, family, management, and former bodyguards to paint a picture of who Tupac Shakur was in his life as well as the moments leading up to his shooting. The filmmakers also have current Las Vegas PD members as well as former LAPD speaking about the case and giving their reasons why his death is still unsolved.
The second film Aftermath is a lot of rehashing of Conspiracy as well as more evidence believed to point the finger at Knight and Wright. Many of the same people are interviewed in Aftermath as in Conspiracy. The film also shows some footage of Tupac’s manager, Leila Steinberg, as well as the late Frank Alexander, Tupac’s bodyguard, and where Tupac’s shooting has taken them in life.
Both films are really hard to get through not because of the graphic subject matter but because of the poor technical execution and editing. With better editing, Conspiracy and Aftermath could have been one film with some compelling evidence. However, Aftermath just ended up feeling like an entire film of extra footage and evidence that should have been included in Conspiracy. Richard Bond does present some interesting theories but they were presented in such confusing ways at times, it was hard to understand why the information was being given.
On top of the mish mash of editing in both films, the score used throughout Conspiracy sounded like a bad horror movie soundtrack on loop. The same music is also used in Aftermath at times along with some new-age-sounding music that is equally as distracting. And though I’m sure getting a narrator that sounds a lot like Bill Kurtis (American Justice and Anchorman) seemed like a good idea, the voice and tone did not match the subject matter or give more credibility to the films.
In my opinion if you are making documentaries that you are hoping will reopen a cold case, it might be best to watch the award-winning documentaries that have actually created change in the justice system first. Sadly, both of these films come off as confused and oddly paranoid at times. The spirit of what Bond and the others in the film are trying to do just gets lost.
I hope for the sake of the Shakur family, that one day they do have answers and that Tupac can finally rest. Until then, if people want to raise more questions and hopefully get more answers, they need to go about it in a different way.
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