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EIFF 2013: THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX Movie Review

When two best friends from Dundee, Scotland made a 13-hour trip down to London to present their hip hop skills to music business executives they were practically laughed out of the city. Gavin Bain and Billy Boyd, subjects of Jeanie Finlay‘s documentary The Great Hip Hop Hoax, may have been passionate, dedicated and talented but there was simply no place in the rap scene for two regular Scottish guys from a dreary, uninspiring fishing town. So in order to realize their dream, the duo decides to build one of the most elaborate hoaxes in music history; reinventing themselves as two wild Californians under the stage name Silibil n’ Brains.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax, Jeanie Finlay’s follow-up to her extraordinary Sound It Out, recounts this tale of how Gavin and Billy deceived managers, labels and audiences across the county in pursuit of stardom. However, as Silibil n’ Brains become hailed as one of the hottest hip hop acts out the United States since Eminem they become forced to live each and every waking day with their fake persona in order to not be exposed. Unsurprisingly, both Gavin and Billy soon begin to lose a sense of exactly who they are, leading them to question whether the lies are really worth achieving their ambitions.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax would be almost impossible to believe as anything but a documentary. It’s often so absurd that it’s hilarious to witness the way their fraud blossoms into a gigantic web of deceit that alienates them from loved ones, each other and even themselves. But what Jeanie Finlay never loses sight of when composing the film is the strangely inspiring and moving thing that lies at the heart of their con: the lengths some people will go to reach where they want to be.

Funny, touching and almost beyond belief, The Great Hip Hop Hoax is without question among the finest music documentaries ever made and proves Jeanie Finlay as one of the most talented filmmakers working in the genre today.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax shows at the Edinburgh Film Festival on Wednesday June 26th and Thursday June 27th

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The Author

Daniel Sarath

Daniel Sarath

Daniel is a 23 year old award nominated journalism graduate who has been writing film news and reviews online for the last four years. His work can be seen at Yahoo, Screen Invasion and HeyUGuys.