|City of Lies|
|Directed by||Brad Furman|
|Screenplay by||Christian Contreras|
by Randall Sullivan
|Edited by||Leo Trombetta|
|Music by||Chris Hajian|
|Distributed by||Saban Films|
|Box office||$2.8 million |
City of Lies is a 2018 crime thriller film about the investigations by the Los Angeles Police Department of the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.  It is directed by Brad Furman, with a screenplay by Christian Contreras based on the non-fiction book LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan. The film stars Johnny Depp as retired LAPD detective Russell Poole and Forest Whitaker as journalist Jack Jackson, with Rockmond Dunbar and Neil Brown Jr. also starring.
The film premiered in Italy on December 8, 2018, screened out of competition on the last day of the Noir in Festival. It received a limited release in Italy on January 10, 2019. It was originally set to be released in the United States on September 7, 2018, by Global Road Entertainment, it was pulled from the schedule in August 2018 following the closure of Global Road Entertainment. It was eventually acquired by Saban Films and released on March 19, 2021, followed by a PVOD release on April 9, 2021. The film received mixed reviews from critics.
In 2015, Los Angeles Times investigative reporter Darius "Jack" Jackson is assigned to write about the murder of the Notorious B.I.G.. He meets with the retired and disgraced Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective Russell Poole. In a series of flashbacks, Poole reveals his theory that Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight paid corrupt LAPD officers to murder Wallace and cover it up.
In 1997, just weeks after the Wallace murder, Poole is tasked with investigating the shooting of off-duty black police officer Kevin Gaines by a white detective, Frank Lyga. Poole faces pressure from upper management in relation to the media frenzy involving other recent race-related incidents in Los Angeles, namely the beating of Rodney King and the murder trial of O. J. Simpson. During the course of the investigation, Poole learns that Gaines was on Knight's payroll and had Bloods gang affiliation. Poole's superior officer, Lieutenant O'Shea, refuses to give credence to this theory and orders Poole to close the Gaines-Lyga shooting. Lyga is exonerated but faces a civil suit, with the Gaines family being represented by attorney Johnnie Cochran. Poole confirms from an undercover FBI agent the connection between Knight and Gaines, and he is transferred to the Robbery-Homicide Division to investigate the Wallace murder.
Poole and his partner Fred Miller obtain the names of suspects including David Mack, another LAPD officer in Knight's employ, as well as Nation of Islam member Amir Muhammad and Blood member Wardell Fouse. Poole learns Mack worked security for Wallace and has also been recently tied to a bank robbery. Mack is arrested but does not give up any information related to Wallace's death. Poole begins investigating yet another LAPD officer, Rafael Pérez, after learning that he has been stealing cocaine from the evidence room. Poole tails Pérez and watches him shoot a drug dealer but Poole intervenes and shoots Pérez in self-defense. Pérez is criminally charged and implicates himself and other officers in various criminal activities. Poole is granted his own task force and also prepares to take the stand in Lyga's civil trial where he intends to claim, on the record, that Mack was involved in Wallace's death and that the LAPD is covering it up, but the city settles before the trial commences. Lyga is unable to clear his name and Poole is shunned by the LAPD.
Voletta Wallace files a wrongful death claim against Los Angeles based on the evidence championed by Poole. Mack and Amir Muhammad were named as defendants, but were dropped shortly before the trial began after the LAPD and FBI dismissed them as suspects. Poole resigns in disgrace one month before he was eligible for his pension, which ultimately costs him his family.
Jackson meets with Poole and Voletta who have developed a friendship in the decades since her son's murder. Jackson apologizes to her for previously writing an article implicating her son in the murder of Tupac Shakur; which she accepts. Voletta reveals that she is thankful for Poole's sacrifice in his attempts to solve the murder. Poole informs Jackson that Wallace's earning potential was estimated at $1 billion, and that a civil suit would bankrupt the city. One day, Poole goes to the L.A. Sheriff's Department in an attempt to reopen his investigation, but suffers a heart attack and dies some time after.
Out of guilt, Jackson, using the information he has learned, wrote an article about Russell Poole declaring him as a forgotten hero. Jackson's article is received with acclaim, however, he soon resigns from his job, finding the system too hypocritical to celebrate worthy men like Poole. Both the murders of Wallace and Tupac remain unsolved.
On February 4, 2013, Miriam Segal's British production company Good Films was reported to have bought the film rights to Randall Sullivan's non-fiction book LAbyrinth. This explored police corruption in Los Angeles related to detective Russell Poole's investigation of the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, which were never solved.  On September 7, 2016, Johnny Depp was reportedly cast in the film to play Poole, the Los Angeles police detective. 
Brad Furman was announced as director for the film, from a script written by Christian Contreras and adapted from the book.  On September 19, Open Road Films acquired the film's US distribution rights. It co-financed the film along with Miramax, while Good Universe handled the film's international sales. 
On November 11, 2016, Rockmond Dunbar was cast in the film to play Dreadlocks. The same day Forest Whitaker joined the film to play the journalist who teams up with the police officer to uncover the truth.   On November 17, Neil Brown Jr. was cast in the film to play police officer Rafael Pérez.  Xander Berkeley, Shea Whigham, Wynn Everett, and Toby Huss were cast in the film on December 13, while two days later Louis Herthum and Shamier Anderson also joined the film, with Herthum playing a city attorney who defends Poole on trial and Anderson playing corrupt LAPD officer David "D. Mack" Mack.   On January 6, 2017, Amin Joseph joined the film to play police officer Kevin Gaines, and on January 18, Laurence Mason to play an FBI agent, Dunton.   On January 23, 2017, newcomer Joseph Ferrante joined the film for an unspecified role. 
Principal photography on the film began on December 13, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.  Principal photography wrapped in May 2017.
The first trailer for the film, originally titled LAbyrinth, was released on May 21, 2018, which would have been the Notorious B.I.G.'s 46th birthday.  Following the merger between Open Road Films and IM Global to form Global Road Entertainment, the film was retitled City of Lies and given a release date of September 7, 2018, the 22nd anniversary of the murder of Tupac Shakur.   In August 2018, the film was pulled from the schedule, reportedly due to an ongoing lawsuit involving Depp and the film's location manager; no new release date was announced. 
On August 23, 2018, the Daily Beast reported that Depp's legal trouble was used as a scapegoat. It suggested that the Los Angeles Police Department may have been trying to suppress the film, in which it is negatively portrayed, or that there were other major players who did not want the film released.  In July 2020, Adam Tod Brown argued that the film was suppressed so Voletta Wallace cannot reopen the Notorious B.I.G. murder case to sue the LAPD.  On August 29, 2018, Bank Leumi filed another lawsuit against Miramax over millions of dollars in unpaid guarantees caused by pulling the film from release. 
City of Lies was first premiered in Italy when it was screened on December 9, 2018, out of competition, at the Noir in Festival as the closing film of the event.   It received a limited release in Italy on January 10, 2019. The film was released on Blu-ray in Italy on June 19, 2019. 
On March 4, 2021, Saban Films announced that it had taken over the distribution rights, and scheduled the movie for release on March 19, 2021.  In October 2021, Highland Film Group picked up international rights to the film for worldwide sales and marketing.
In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $275,049 from 501 theaters in its opening weekend, a per-venue average of $549. 
On Redbox, the film debuted at #1 on the rental chart and #5 on the VOD chart for week ending June 13, 2021. 
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 51% based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.  According to Metacritic, which calculated a weighted average score of 44 out of 100 based on 12 critics, the film received "mixed or average reviews". 
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, writing: "...in large part due to the stellar work from Depp and Whitaker, this is a valuable and somewhat illuminating look back at the senseless, stunning killings of two rap icons just six months apart."  Writing for The Hollywood Reporter , John DeFore wrote: "This is a compelling drama with real-world concerns that shouldn't be ignored, and it deserves better than to be the victim of an actor's offscreen sins." 
John Christopher Depp II is an American actor and musician. He is the recipient of multiple accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, in addition to nominations for three Academy Awards and two BAFTA awards.
Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known by his stage names the Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie, was an American rapper. Rooted in East Coast hip hop and particularly gangsta rap, he is cited in various media lists as being one of the greatest rappers of all time. Wallace became known for his distinctive laid-back lyrical delivery, offsetting the lyrics' often grim content. His music was often semi-autobiographical, telling of hardship and criminality, but also of debauchery and celebration.
Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight Jr. is an American former record executive, convicted felon, and the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records. Knight is considered a central figure in gangsta rap's commercial success in the 1990s. This feat is attributed to the record label's first two album releases: Dr. Dre's The Chronic in 1992 and Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle in 1993.
Biggie & Tupac is a 2002 feature-length documentary film about the murdered American rappers Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace and Tupac Shakur by Nick Broomfield.
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Russell Wayne Poole was a Los Angeles Police Department detective most noted for investigating the murder of the Notorious B.I.G., a rapper also known as Biggie Smalls, birth name Christopher Wallace. Poole also investigated the killing of LAPD Officer Kevin Gaines by LAPD Officer Frank Lyga on March 18, 1997. After retiring in 1999, he formed a private detective agency.
Ray Lopez is an American former police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the central figure in the LAPD Rampart scandal. An officer with the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) task force, Pérez was involved in numerous crimes and corruption, notably the shooting and framing of Javier Ovando, in addition to the theft and resale of at least $800,000 of cocaine from LAPD evidence lockers.
David Anthony Mack is a former professional runner and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer involved in the Rampart Division's Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) unit. He was one of the central figures in the LAPD Rampart police corruption scandal. Mack was arrested in December 1997 for robbery of $722,000 from a South Central Los Angeles branch of the Bank of America. He was sentenced to fourteen years and three months in federal prison. Mack has never revealed the whereabouts of the money.
Kevin Lee Gaines was an American police officer assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums unit implicated in the Rampart scandal.
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Frank Lyga is an American former police officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, known for shooting and killing officer Kevin Gaines. The resulting LAPD investigation of Kevin Gaines helped lead to the Rampart Scandal.
The Murder of Biggie Smalls is a non-fiction true crime book by author and journalist Cathy Scott. Published in October 2000 by St. Martin's Press, it covers the March 9, 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G. in a drive-by shooting. A second updated edition of the book was released in September 2021.
Charles Alan Philips is an American writer and journalist. He is best known for his investigative reporting in the Los Angeles Times on the culture, corruption, and crime in the music industry during the 1990s and 2000s, which garnered both awards and controversy. In 1999, Philips won a Pulitzer Prize, with Michael A. Hiltzik, for their co-authored series exposing corruption in the entertainment industry.
Christopher Wallace, an American rapper known professionally as the Notorious B.I.G., was murdered in a drive-by shooting in the early hours of March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles, California. He was 24 years old.
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Unsolved is an American true crime drama anthology television miniseries. The miniseries is based on the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur and the 1997 murder of The Notorious B.I.G.. It premiered February 27, 2018 on USA Network. The 10-episode miniseries chronicles the dual police investigations of Detective Greg Kading and Detective Russell Poole into the controversial murders of two of the rap industry's most legendary players, Tupac and Biggie.
Randall Sullivan is an American author and journalist who has also worked as a screenwriter, film and television producer and on-camera television personality.
Duane Keith "Keefe D" Davis is an American member of the California-based gang known as The Southside Compton Crip. Davis, a childhood friend of legendary N.W.A. frontman Eazy-E, is alleged to have been involved in the murder of Tupac Shakur. During the early '90s, Davis built a friendly relationship with Sean "Diddy" Combs. Davis claims that in 1996, Diddy placed a $1 Million hit on Tupac and Suge Knight that eventually resulted in Tupac being fatally wounded in Las Vegas later that same year. Detective Tim Brennan from Compton, California filed an affidavit naming Davis and his nephew Orlando Anderson as suspects, although fans and others have speculated as to their involvement in the killing. Neither have ever been charged with the murder; Anderson was killed in a gang-related shootout in 1998.