Get Rich or Die Tryin' (film)
|Get Rich or Die Tryin'|
|Directed by||Jim Sheridan|
|Written by||Terence Winter|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$46.4 million|
Get Rich or Die Tryin' is a 2005 American hip-hop crime drama film starring 50 Cent in his feature film acting debut. It was released on November 9, 2005, and was known as Locked and Loaded during production. Similar to the 2002 Eminem film 8 Mile, which it used as a template, the film is based on 50 Cent's own life and was directed by Jim Sheridan. The name of the film is shared with 50 Cent's debut album of the same name.
After Marcus Greer and his friends rob a Colombian safe house, Marcus is shot nine times. As the unidentified shooter points the gun to Marcus' head and pulls the trigger, the film flashes back to his childhood.
Marcus is a quiet young boy who adores his loving mother Katrina, and the two live a relatively comfortable life on her drug-dealing income. She often has to leave him with his grandparents while she conducts business. Marcus enjoys the company of his friends, especially his love interest Charlene. He writes Charlene a song and sends her a cassette tape, though it is deemed inappropriate by her stepfather. As a result, she is forced to be sent away to live with her grandparents. Meanwhile, Katrina is murdered by an anonymous figure in an apparent drug deal gone wrong.
Forced to live with his grandparents full-time, they themselves also having children to look after, Marcus finds his life less appealing as his grandfather works long hours to support the family. No longer able to get the shoes his mother could afford, Marcus turns to selling drugs in order to afford new shoes. As he grows older, he rejects the idea of legal work and decides to deal drugs, buying new clothing and a gun. Eventually he abandons high school to sell drugs for local kingpin Levar and his underling, Majestic, full-time. Majestic, however, plans to become a major drug lord himself, often conspiring with a rap artist he manages named Dangerous.
Years later, Marcus reunites with Charlene and the two become intimate. Later one of his close friends, Antwan, is shot and paralyzed at a club by a Colombian named Raul; the gunman initially aimed for Marcus. In retaliation, Marcus attacks Raul, but stops short of murdering him when he realizes it's not worth throwing away the rest of his life, and instead shoots Raul in the legs multiple times as payback for Antwan.
When Raul refuses to identify Marcus as the shooter in a police line up, he is allowed to go free. After an anonymous tip off, cops raid his house and find a gun and drugs, which didn't belong to Marcus. Marcus is jailed, and during his time in prison, he befriends an inmate named Bama. Meanwhile, Majestic makes his move to seize control of the local drug trade: he sets Levar up to go to prison, and then frames Levar's second-in-command Odell for it. After publicly torturing and murdering Odell for his "betrayal", Majestic then takes over Levar's empire as the new kingpin.
After encouragement from Bama, Marcus leaves the drug trade behind to pursue and fulfill his lifelong dream of being a rapper, calling himself Young Caesar. Bama joins as his manager and producer. Bama gets out of prison before Marcus, but promises he will see him again.
When Marcus leaves prison, Bama, Justice, Majestic, and June Bug are waiting for him. Majestic invites Marcus to become his right-hand man (taking June Bug's place), but Marcus tells him of his aspirations to being a rapper, which Majestic laughs off. Marcus leaves with Bama, taking Justice with him.
Justice and Bama initially have a clash of personalities, but Marcus calms them after a roadside stop. Unconvinced of Marcus' dream, Justice informs Majestic of his activities. As Marcus more seriously pursues music, Majestic tries everything in his power to sabotage his success, threatening record label employees, DJs, and more, even going as far as to threaten Charlene and Marcus's newborn son while at the hospital. Marcus, however, refuses to stop and retaliates by taunting Majestic and Dangerous in his songs.
Despite Marcus' insistence at avoiding crime, Bama convinces him to carry out one last robbery on a Colombian safe house. While this happens, Majestic targets Marcus for death. After Marcus and his crew complete the robbery, the film returns to the first scene. It is then revealed that Marcus was shot outside of his family's home by Justice, eventually being saved by his grandparents. After being hospitalized, and going through a period of self-loathing and pity, Marcus reevaluates his life, prioritizing his family. After a long and painful recovery, he records music again.
Angered with Justice's failure to kill Marcus, Majestic kills Justice. Shortly after, Marcus meets with Levar in prison, who remorsefully reveals that he is Marcus' biological father and regrets not being there for him and his mother to protect them. Marcus then organizes his concert debut, using his stage name "Young Caesar" with the support of his family and friends.
The night of his concert, Marcus organizes protection for his family (and Charlene's family) from Majestic. As he prepares to go on stage, Majestic shows up with his goons and tries to intimidate Marcus, but to no avail. In the ensuing confrontation, Majestic reveals he killed Marcus's mother years earlier for spurning his affections. In a fit of rage by Marcus, a fight ensues, and Marcus prevails.
Before he can finish off Majestic once and for all, Bama persuades him to start the show, citing that Majestic isn't worth him killing and urging him think about his family. As Marcus starts to walk out on stage, Majestic tries to stab him, but is shot and wounded by Bama. Majestic begs for Marcus to kill him, but Marcus refuses, and instead leaves Majestic in the hands of his cronies, and as he walks out towards the crowd, Bama shoots Majestic to death himself. Marcus steps onto the stage and performs "Hustler's Ambition".
- 50 Cent as Marcus "Young Caesar" Greer
- Marc John Jefferies as Young Marcus
- Terrence Howard as Bama
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Majestic
- Joy Bryant as Charlene
- Rhyon Nicole Brown as Young Charlene
- Omar Benson Miller as Kyrl
- Tory Kittles as Justice
- Ashley Walters as Antoine
- Viola Davis as Grandma Viola Greer
- Sullivan Walker as Grandpa Wesley Greer
- Serena Reeder as Katrina
- Bill Duke as Levar
- Mpho Koaho as Junebug
- Russell Hornsby as Odell
- Joseph Jomo Pierre as Uncle Deuce
- Ryan Allen as Uncle Roy
- Pedro Miguel Arce as Cash Counting Guard
- Boyd Banks as Prison Solitary Guard
- Mykelti Williamson as Charlene's step-father (uncredited)
The soundtrack was released on November 8, 2005. In December 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum. The album has so far sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Samuel L. Jackson publicly turned down an offer to co-star in the film, citing that he did not want to lend credence to what he believed was an inexperienced and unproven actor. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote of Jackson's decision: "...Jackson is arguing against the anti-intellectual message that success for young black males is better sought in the worlds of rap and sports than in the classroom." Jackson and 50 Cent later co-starred in the 2006 film Home of the Brave.
Get Rich or Die Tryin' holds a 16% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based upon 117 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "While it may be based upon 50 Cent's own life experiences, Get Rich or Die Tryin' is too similar to many other rags-to-riches stories to resonate." Radio Times criticized the film, saying that "as a vehicle for hip-hop superstar Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, this [film] runs out of gas a fair few kilometres short", giving it a "could be worse" rating of 2/5 stars. CinePassion stated that "[Jim] Sheridan's surface vividness is applied around a vacuum."
FilmFocus said that the film's "real danger is that it sets a precedent for the director; if the price is right he's on board". The BBC was not entirely impressed with the film, saying that "while it boasts a first-class director and is loosely based on the singer's own life-story, the results leave you feeling a little short-changed".
Jonathan Ross gave a positive review, calling Get Rich or Die Tryin' "gripping" and suggesting that it had "excellent performances". Roger Ebert also praised the film, giving the film a 3 out of 4 rating and saying that it was "a film with a rich and convincing texture, a drama with power and anger".
Get Rich or Die Tryin' grossed $12,020,807 in its opening weekend. Altogether, the film grossed $46,442,528 in total worldwide.
Get Rich or Die Tryin' was first released on DVD on March 28, 2006. It was later released on Blu-ray.
- "Get Rich or Die Tryin'". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
- Get Rich or Die Tryin' film review - Radio Times
- RIAA Searchable Database - "Get Rich or Die Tryin". Recording Industry Association of America. Accessed May 21, 1932.
- "FemaleFirst". PROUD JACKSON TURNS DOWN 50 CENT FILM ROLE. Retrieved August 20, 2006.
- "RogerEbert.com". Coach Carter (PG-13). Retrieved August 20, 2006.
- Get Rich or Die Tryin' at Rotten Tomatoes
- CinePassion's review of Get Rich or Die Tryin'
- FilmFocus.co.uk Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- BBC - Movies - Review - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
- Film 2006 (Talk show). BBC. 2006.
- Roger Ebert's review of Get Rich or Die Tryin'