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The Carter

Lil' Wayne would probably sneer at the comparison, but "The Carter" is the "Don't Look Back" of rap.

With: Dwayne "Lil' Wayne" Carter, Cortez Bryant, Brian "Baby" Williams, Reginae Carter.

Lil’ Wayne would probably sneer at the comparison, but “The Carter” — Adam Bhala Lough’s intimate, warts-and-all profile of recording artist Dwayne “Lil’ Wayne” Carter — is the “Don’t Look Back” of rap. Like D.A. Pennebaker’s long-ago Bob Dylan doc, it’s spontaneous, unblinking, and ennobles its subject despite himself. Exposure will likely be via music-oriented cable and Online, but Lough’s film — and its moody, idiosyncratic subject — are revelatory and kinetic.

Traveling the music world in a perpetual bubble of bodyguards, publicists and the effects of pot and cough syrup, the 26-year-old “greatest rapper alive” is seen in contentious interviews, onstage performances, and with his ever-present “black bag” of recording equipment, which allows him to constantly lay down the stream-of-consciousness lyrics that will be honed into the hits that have made Wayne one of rap’s biggest stars. Lil’ Wayne comes off as sort of an impossible personality, but Bhala’s snapshot is a kick.

The Carter

Production: A QD3 Entertainment presentation. (International sales: Cinetic Media, N.Y.) Produced by Joshua A. Krause. Executive producers, Quincy "QD3" Jones III, Jared Freedman, Joshua A. Krause. Directed by Adam Bhala Lough.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Lough; editor, Andy Grieve; music, Lil' Wayne. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Park City at Midnight), Jan. 18, 2009. Running time: 80 MIN.

Cast: With: Dwayne "Lil' Wayne" Carter, Cortez Bryant, Brian "Baby" Williams, Reginae Carter.

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