City of Lies (2021) Starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker

Genre: Mystery

Directed by Brad Furman

Starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker

During the Summer of 2020, people flooded the streets to protest police brutality and corruption. In March of 2021, City of Lies was released, detailing a true story about gangland infiltration of the LAPD. No one cared.


It’s interesting how much you can learn about a societal trend when a movie comes out amplifying the subject, but it portrays a conflicting narrative. Johnny Depp plays Russell Poole, a detective tasked with solving the murder of Christopher Wallace a.k.a. The Notorious BIG. During the course of his investigation, Poole discovers that rap mogul Suge Knight has his tentacles deep within the police department. This isn’t a case of Matt Damon in The Departed. We’re talking about dozens of gangsters sporting a badge. While we have to accept movies as fiction because of their nature, what is fact is that officer Rafael Pérez implicated 70 other officers of serious misconduct in what is now known as the Rampart scandal (named after the LAPD’s Rampart Division). The best movies get the audience interested in the real world and vice versa. This is a movie that should, like Poole demands, force us to ask more questions.

City of Lies plays out like a strong mystery should, changing the point of the investigation at every corner. A whodunit where every clue gets you one step closer to who-did-it is boring. Every clue should force you to reexamine what it is you’re even investigating. This is a movie that really makes you think about what really influences the decisions that impact your community and your life.