Movie Review: The Carter

VIBE-The_Carter_DVDFilm: The Carter
Genre: Documentary
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When you decide to make a documentary about one of the most popular, yet misunderstood musicians on the planet, you best be prepared for anything. Even the most ridiculous twists, like your “star” refusing to sit down for an interview and later asking for his name to be taken off the entire project, but only after granting you literally weeks of uncensored access to their world, is not out of the question. Just ask the filmmakers behind The Carter, a documentary [or at least an attempted documentary] about Lil Wayne, aka, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr that’s recently been released on Itunes following an acclaimed premiere at Sundance 2009.

Directed by Adam Bhala Lough, whose often handheld camera work gives the film a very genuine “fly on the wall” feeling, had to pull his hair out while piecing together this film. Not only did he not get any face time with Wayne, he had to rely on song lyrics, concert footage, and almost nonstop footage of Wayne’s marijuana and cough syrup habits to piece together a coherent 90-min. thought. However, for anyone already familiar with the world of Wayne, all Lough’s hard work may have been in vein. Even as a moderate listener to Weezy, I found myself extremely bored by the antics displayed on screen because most of the story Lough found to tell has been well documented by literally dozens of news outlets. Wayne got shot when he was young, raised in Hollygrove, loves marijuana and cough syrup, had an argument with his Manager, and works really, really hard. None of this information is really all that new and due to the briefness of the film, we’re not given ample exposure to really reveal any new details to most fans.

It’s not all “been there, heard that” though. Thanks to the aforementioned “fly on the wall” film tactics, Lough was lucky enough to capture Weezy discussing not only his admitted drug use, but also a walk through sexual memory lane including the less-than-romantic tale of Wayne losing his virginity. It’s in these moments that we see a brief glimpse into the man that few ever see. The Wayne that came before the syrup, weed, and studio time. The boy that became the most sought after man in music is right there, if only for a few brief moments, and you almost instantly feel for the guy. I mean sure, now he’s made something of himself, but in those brief glimpses into his youth, we find just how much of his empire was truly a result of his one dedication and hard work. However, it should be mentioned that Birdman’s role in Wayne’s life is also well represented in these areas as he did raise Wayne from the time he was 9.

In the end, The Carter falls immensely short of how glorious it could have been due to the absence of any straightforward conversations with Wayne himself, but Lough does a solid job of working with what was presented to him. Fans and the common music listener will both probably find this look into the life of such an eccentric celebrity to be a bit intoxicating, but as I said, there’s very little fresh meat here to keep people coming back which is truly tragic because given the amount of time and access the crew had, it would only seem obvious that there would be a real story here. However, the only real story that arises from the film is the fact that Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. is, and will for the forseeable time continue to be one of the most intriguing and confusing people to ever grace the international spotlight.

Score: 7/10

-James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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2 Responses to “Movie Review: The Carter”

  1. buy dsi r4 says:

    Fantastic review there.
    It actually makes me want to watch it. Hope it gets on TV soon.

  2. Yeah but, Sony will sue until you go out of business or stop selling their product. Not until you get a criminal offense.