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Stephen Frears

Shakur, Roth maneuver in a tale of two junkies Review: Late rapper, English actor are compelling as addicts fighting the system to go straight in 'Gridlock'd.'

"Gridlock'd" is a look at what might have been, what is and what will be.

What might have been is Tupac Shakur as film star. The late singer, killed in a Vegas shooting last summer in pursuit of some fantasy of the thug's life, is an African-American Nicolas Cage, one of those infinitely wise, sad film presences immediately reconizable. As a hustling junkie who has finally decided to kick, the actor is convincing and oddly tragic.

What's amazing is how far from the thug-fantasy and how diluted of ego this performance is. Shakur simply is, without vanity or preening. One has no sense of a need of his to fulfill an image of himself, to control how he is seen. He is...