This authorized documentary is more of a celebration of the legendary Queens quartet than a serious exploration of their art. But considering how brilliant they were at their peak, it's hard to disagree with the general sentiment.
Rapaport gets at the dynamics of a group that struggles even now to get along well enough to get paid - again.
Kevin C. Johnson
Despite accusations of nearly succumbing to spotlighting beefs over beats, the film comes off as an honest representation of a great group that's not to be forgotten.
A combination of timing, access, a visual aesthetic that reflects ATCQ's Afrocentric "surface philosophy" (as the crew's look is described) and, most importantly, story-conscious editing elevates the doc above the norm.
Thanks to a particularly even-handed job by director Michael Rapaport, the story emerges as compelling, even for non-fans in the audience.
The movie gets the beats and rhymes down pat, but the life part is a little messy. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.
There are scenes toward the end of the movie that hint at a fuzzier tomorrow for Tribe, but you leave appreciating the music as it was, not hoping for anything else.
The emotional honesty Rapaport captures on screen comes off as real, a cut above standard-issue Behind the Music drama in terms of believability.
Even as the band implodes, "Beats" flows as smoothly as Q-Tip on "Verses From the Abstract." It's the tension between the group's core members that really propels the film forward.