“Straight Outta Compton” | Movie Review


Grade (A)

A compelling biopic that is built off a strong, detailed story without simply relying on nostalgia or the famous music.


Synopsis

A group of young men revolutionize the music industry when they form the group N.W.A. and open the worlds eyes to tales of life growing up in the hood.

My Take

I had high hopes for this film and I was pleased the result met my expectations and more. “Straight Outta Compton” tells a detailed story of how this group got together, the lives the led prior and the struggles they had once they reached a mainstream audience.

I was of the age that I could remember back to many of the situations and events this film portrayed and I can even remember some of the news expositions from the time during the LA riots, the passing of Eazy-E and the depiction of the days when people would run rollers over piles of albums and Cd’s in protest. For that aspect this film did an excellent job of taking you back in time to the mid 80’s and early 90’s and how it may not have been so long ago, yet things were much different in society.

I thought this story-line was detailed enough to show how this group of talented individuals paved the way for artists today to have healthy careers. The casting in this film was fantastic and all did an excellent job in their performances. O’Shea Jackson Jr. was clearly perfectly cast to play his father. Their appearance and expressions were so similar that there were times it actually felt like a younger Ice Cube and not his son. There had to be a lot of pressure to play his father in a biopic but he delivered a riveting performance.

Corey Hawkins was also great in the role of Dr. Dre. He delivered a range of emotions and you could feel the desperation for his characters success. Jason Mitchell came in a portrayed a highly realistic representation of Eazy-E as well and like Hawkins and Jackson, he felt perfect for the part. The thing that made this movie so enjoyable was the effort the cast put into learning their characters and the effort they put into making their performances as realistic as possible. Paul Giamatti was excellent and brought emotion and energy to many of his scenes bringing dramatic impact when needed.

The script was also very well written. I know there have been some articles out there regarding what was or was not put into the story and some of the things that may have been glossed over to make those involved look better to the public eye, but it still felt very similar to the real events of the times. They never made the characters look glorified, and there didn’t seem to be a blatant agenda. The story-line came off as very detailed, highly intriguing and complete to introduce the world to the pioneer group of artists once again.

Sitting back I could remember some of the events that were depicted while others filled in the blanks. I also enjoyed the scope this story covered from the beginnings of the group to their quick dismantling. There was a good flow of the script from the break-up of the group to how Dre went on to ‘Death Row Records’ with Suge to begin the next phase of his career. As well as how Ice Cube early on felt things were wrong financially and was the first to leave and go solo while the script routinely notated the advancements in his career as well.

The music was also very well represented and the concert scenes were well shot. The soundtrack was also (as you would expect) great in this film and I liked how at times the film would use certain songs to signify advances in the time-line of the story.

In the end “Straight Outta Compton” was great film that despite a two and a half hour run-time was entertaining from start to finish. The length was not wasted as there were no lulls in the pace, just a mass amount of material to fit into the story the writers wanted to tell. This is a must-see for anyone who is a fan. Even if you are unknown to the group, the music, or the history, this film is worth a watch. It has high amounts of quality in many aspects and will hold its place among other captivating biopics.


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