This non-exploitive, made-for-cable biopic does a straightforward job of
examining the life of infamous crime lord Stan "Tookie" Williams Williams.
Convicted of multiple homicide in 1981 and credited with uniting some of LA’s motley street gangs into a unified force, Crips leader Williams (Jamie Foxx) is on Death Row when he repudiates his life of violence while trying to explain its origin in the Crips-Bloods gang rivalry. One of the few people interested in hearing Williams' theories is author Barbara Becnel (Lynn Whitfield), but her publisher doesn’t share that enthusiasm. Although Becnel is also African-American, she comes from a different world than Williams, who makes her jump through hoops to land a jailhouse interview. By the time she finds a gun in her own teenaged son’s possession, Becnel is desperate to share Williams’ insider
viewpoint with the world. Williams eventually tells Becnel the saga of his rise from pit-bull fight promoter to gang consolidator, emphasizing his limited ghetto options and his Darwinian response to adversity. After soaring to the bloody top of his game and then plummeting into the depths of the correctional system, Williams experiences a change of heart and declares he wants to "Stop the Madness." As they learn to trust each other, Becnel chronicles the turf wars of L.A.’s inner city while Williams pens a series of books for at-risk youths, work that earns him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and the support of such notables as Winnie Mandela (CCH Pounder). While Williams remains jailed, his crusade continues.
This sensitively acted biopic with a strong anti-capital punishment agenda offers more debate than drama, but also provides insight into the way economic despair breeds criminal behavior.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: NR
- Review: This non-exploitive, made-for-cable biopic does a straightforward job of examining the life of infamous crime lord Stan "Tookie" Williams Williams. Convicted of multiple homicide in 1981 and credited with uniting some of LA’s motley street gangs into a… (more)