What it's about:
In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the U.S.. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., this is the astonishing story of how these young men revolutionised music and pop culture forever—the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.
What we thought:
The movie Straight Outta Compton really needs no introduction. Since its debut in the States in August it has grossed over $180m.
It’s not only the numbers that have people talking but also the subsequent drama that has surrounded the movie.
The exclusion of Dr Dre’s violent past: he allegedly assaulted a number of women which he has since apologised for, renewed backlash against the group for their lyrics and representations of women, and Suge Knight’s legal suit claiming defamation of character.
And although all this drama has surrounded the film it doesn’t detract from the power of the movie.
NWA (Niggaz With Attitude) have been considered the pioneers of gangsta rap and this biopic is no nonsense look at the good and bad sides of the rap world.
It tells the story of a group of rappers who used clever hooks, sick beats and thought provoking lyrics to become the voice of a generation.
The film starts out in 1986, Eazy E (Jason Mitchell) was a weed dealer, Dr Dre (Corey Hawkins) was skipping work and spinning tracks at an R&B club and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) was writing lyrics on the school bus.
They lived in Compton where police brutality was rife.
With Dre’s vision, Ice Cube’s lyrics and Easy’s financial backing they laid down their first track putting them on the map.
In comes producer, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) who sees the potential of the group and with Easy they start up Ruthless Records.
The first part of the film focuses strongly on the group’s rise to fame and their experiences as young black which ultimately influenced them to write, Fuck the Police. All of this is set against the backdrop of the death of Rodney King and the LA riots in 1992.
The riot scenes and public unrest are eerily similar to those we have seen in Ferguson and Baltimore most recently.
The second part of the film however, loses the pace and edge a bit: success, money, fame and a power struggle cause the group to splinter. Cube, Dre and Easy go their separate ways to pursue their own paths.
The young cast were absolutely brilliant! They totally transformed themselves into the characters they portrayed.
Most of the story was Easy’s and Jason Mitchell carried the film well.
Ice Cube’s son O’ Shea Jr gave a stand out performance the fact that he looks so much like his father gave his role more authenticity.
I have to mention Paul Giamatti who certainly is one of the best character actors of our time, his ability to totally transform himself is uncanny.
Even if you’re not familiar with the rap scene this is a film worth watching. It is essentially a cautionary rags-to-riches tale which underlines issues still very prevalent in our society.
Oh and of course the soundtrack will have you bopping your head and throwing your hands in the air.
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