Never Die Alone (review)

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Spike Lee’s former cinematographer Ernest Dickerson checks in with a gangsta flick that’s all flashy visual angst and, despite its literary pretensions, utterly inconsequential, if bloated with a fervent desire to be seen as Art. Druglord King David (rapper DMX: Cradle 2 the Grave), stabbed in an attack with desperately pseudo-Shakespearean overtones, dies a miserable death, but not before making an unlikely impression on perhaps the most absurd white-boy-gone-ghetto ever: a journalist played with diffident indifference by David Arquette (It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie). As the journo listens to King’s autobiography, dictated into a series of audiotapes, we flashback to King’s life of fun with sociopathy — he takes a particular thrill in getting his beautiful girlfriends strung out on heroin. But we’re meant to believe that King has had a change of heart and is relating his sorry tale in an attempt at penance. The film strains to imbue King with a nobility born of his desire for absolution, which would be distasteful if the proceedings weren’t so dull. Not only is DMX never convincing as a man repentant of his evil deeds, he can’t even make us believe he ever enjoyed being evil in the first place.

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