‘Take a look at Me: XXXTENTACION’ develops an incomplete image of a troubled life

“I felt like my son’s story wanted to be instructed,” Cleopatra Bernard says, explaining the choice behind making the documentary, which particulars how Florida teenager Jahseh Onfroy, a.okay.a. XXXTentacion, turned one of many most-streamed artists on the planet earlier than his loss of life in 2018.
Any skilled accomplishments, nonetheless, went hand in hand with acts of violence and his alleged battery of girlfriend Geneva Ayala, who’s amongst these interviewed, with images offering proof of the brutal extent of that abuse.

“So she’s scared. She thinks I am gonna kill her,” Onfroy says in a single recording, regardless of having insisted repeatedly that Ayala was mendacity about him. Movies additionally seize varied fights and assaults on others, which in essence turned a part of his model.

Bernard concedes that picture labored to her son’s benefit, observing about XXXTentacion’s profession, “He discovered a method to get consideration to himself, and though it was unfavorable issues, it labored.” To her credit score, she additionally meets in the course of the movie with Ayala, who skilled threats and social-media backlash from his followers on the time due to his authorized troubles.

Nonetheless, director Sabaah Folayan faces a frightening job in presenting Onfroy’s private struggles and the victimization of Ayala whereas additionally highlighting his transient profession and expertise, principally by relying upon interviews with family and friends.

At one level, requested about Onfroy’s excesses, Bernard says, “Even when he is Hitler, that is my son,” including of her assist for him, “Any mom would have carried out the identical factor, I might assume” — statements that seemingly cry out for follow-up questions that do not come.

The manufacturing auspices (Bernard is credited as an government producer together with former supervisor Solomon Sobande) cloud the train, giving the documentary the texture, or at the least the looks, of a licensed product, particularly since its premiere coincides with the posthumous launch of a brand new track collaboration with Kanye West.

“Look At Me: XXXTENTACION” focuses on the great that XXXTentacion did by way of his relationship with followers, that includes a few of them discussing how his music helped them by way of tough instances. But there’s little consideration given to the questionable features of that, reminiscent of his assertion, “It is a cult, not a fan base.”

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At its core the documentary conveys the components that formed his work, and contends, primarily based on the testimony of these near him, that Onfroy was within the course of of creating adjustments to his life when he died.

As for what transpired earlier than then, “Take a look at Me” presents glimpses, however it’s not a completely developed image.

“Look At Me: XXXTENTACION” premieres Might 26 on Hulu.

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