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Irish director Jim Sheridan is a respected albeit low profile director. From his critically acclaimed 1989 debut My Left Foot (which earned him an Oscar nomination for director and co-writer), all the way to one of his most recent flicks, In America, you might say the man has some good, if not excellent filmmaking talents. But after you have seen his 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) starring rags to riches biopic, you may wonder where it all went so wrong. In fact, this is exactly the kind of film that can put a nail in any filmmakers’ coffin, respected or not.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Feature
I can see why Sheridan may have been enticed to take on the project, as this film bears some similarities to a handful of his previous films. Some of the themes are similar, and some of the characters come from similar backgrounds. But this is a man who has been nominated for several Oscars throughout his career, a career that has been more than fruitful up until now. What I find most concerning and perhaps even a little confusing however, is that Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is a film on the opposite end of the spectrum to all his other films. It is as if he was dazed whilst reading the script, and then became intoxicated when he began to direct.

So, where does the problem—or in this case a plural term would be more apt—lie? To be honest, there are so many things that obviously went awry with this film that I could probably write an entire thesis on the matter, but I will do my best to just focus on the most glaring and apparent of woes. First of all, hold out your left or right hand (which ever you feel most comfortable with) and raise a finger as you count through each of the biopics you have either seen or heard about in the last few years. Quite a lot aren’t there? In fact, I’d wager you would need your adjacent hand to continue your count.

Some have been good, some not so good. The really good ones, or at least the only good ones that I have seen are: Eminem’s 8 Mile, Ray and most recently, Walk the Line. Those films, especially the latter two, were truly excellent examples of a biopic done right, but 8 Mile is more similar in both style and tone to Get Rich of Die Tryin’. For this reason, I’ll make comparisons between those two instead of some of the aforementioned. Whereas 8 Mile was a solidly made, reasonably well written affair loosely based on rapper Eminem’s life story, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ seems to take things a little overboard, making the emotional connection between film and audience feel restrained and disconnected.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Moreover, if this film is indeed based on aspects of 50 Cent’s life and his rise to fame, then it certainly wasn’t as interesting or seemingly well-earned as that of Eminem’s. Now, the last thing I want to do is start a brawl between fans of the two, but from the way each film was presented and framed, one seems like a semi-believable rise to stardom, the other seems somewhat baffling. I suppose that is one of the negatives of opening your heart to the world of film, if the filmmakers get it wrong or take things a little too far, it looks bad for the person right in the centre spotlight, in this case for Mr. Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson. But then, his acting here never once betrays untruthfulness, as if all we are seeing is indeed ‘how it was’.

In a nutshell, Get Rich of Die Tryin’ is just plain dull and disjointed from most things we can associate with in our everyday world. In fact, I would compare this so called biopic favourably with Mariah Carey’s disastrously bad Glitter. If I have just committed a cardinal sin to compare this film with that, then so be it. This film is truly and completely as bad as Glitter in almost every single way. And getting back to all those biopics you counted out earlier, the problem with Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is that it is just another clichéd and monotonous biopic with nothing new to bring to the table only guffaws of unintentional laughs and tedious plotting. What we see here, we’ve seen a hundred times before: rags to riches in under two hours, with not a single enlightening aspect but the rolling of the end credits to signify that it is over.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Video
There’s nothing extraordinary here, unless you appreciate an overly noisy, heavily flawed image. To top it off, the colours appear washed out beyond recognition and I get the feeling none of this was intentional. This is just a dull looking DVD image, with not one redeeming quality to it. Brighter sequences are harsh on the eyes, and darker scenes are even worse. I wouldn’t say it is near VHS quality, but remove that higher DVD resolution and you’d have something similar. Overall, I would describe this visual experience as ‘muddy’.

Audio
Here you get a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and for the most part it doesn’t sound all that bad. The film and video portions of the DVD have so far proved nothing short of underwhelming, but at least the audio technicians managed to conjure up something semi-decent. Bass can be a little overbearing at times however, especially during the many outbursts of music during the feature. Directional audio is something else that never really gets a chance to shine, but dialogue is sharp and audible. Other than those few drawbacks, the soundtrack has a good amount of oomph to it.

Extras
Are you ready for another reason not to buy this disc? Well, here we go. On this Get Rich or Die Tryin’ DVD you get two features, just two. What are they you ask? One is a twenty minute making of feature called ‘A Portrait of an Artist’ and the other is a trailer. The problem with the making of feature is that it is very badly made and presented, making its unloading of information and trivia harder to digest.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Overall
Get Rich of Die Tryin’ is a failure in both film and DVD form. Nothing about the experience is memorable, and you would be wise not to part your hard earned cash with such unflattering garbage. What with the film being such a stinker, and with the DVD housing both lacklustre audio, visual and special features, you’d just be wasting time and energy better spent elsewhere. You have been cautioned.


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