Cinematic Releases: Straight Outta Compton

F*#@ the police! Our review of the NWA biopic is here. Read it! 

"Yo! This is our new song called
Are We There Yet?"
Decades later, the story of NWA and the rap icons that would go on to become entertainment moguls is told in an expansive study that not only reveals the members' hard gangster leanings but also shows the lifelong friendship between them. NWA's story is an interesting bit of history that doesn't fall in the category of standard biopic fare. Never before has a gangster rap group been captured on screen like this. These boys from the hood were the perfect subject matter for F. Gary Gray's sincere dramatization of their story. With Straight Outta Compton, audiences are granted full access to their struggles to leave Compton, the excesses that fanned the flames of stardom, and the continued battle with the gangster lifestyle that continued to infect their livelihood at every single turn.

Unexpectedly, Straight Outta Compton is easily one of the best pictures of the summer. Despite its overblown length and a story that feels disjointed throughout the last chapter, the dramatization of their journey mixed with another standout performance from Paul Giamatti will hit home with audiences. People that experienced the L.A. riots and the explosive gangster rap scene of the late '80s and early '90s will definitely connect with this movie. Gray does a superb job capturing the racist agenda of the morally corrupt police department, the dangers of growing up in Compton, and the rise and fall of the most dangerous rap group in the world. Straight Outta Compton is a time transcending piece of near cinematic genius that tries to fill all the gaps of the last thirty years with precision in some areas and too little info at others. 

Perhaps the greatest feat of this film is the mind blowing casting decisions. From O'Shea Jackson's (Ice Cube's real life son) clone like appearance, freakishly similar vocal traits and spot on physical portrayal to Jason Mitchell's uncanny resemblance to the real Eazy-E, Compton is hauntingly realistic. Mixing in recreated concert footage and studio sequences, Gray brings about a film that will pique the continued interest of hip hop connoisseurs and music fans in general as he delivers the best biopic since Walk The Line. With a talented cast and a detail oriented story that falters at times under the weight of nearly too much information, Straight Outta Compton is one movie that delivers almost everything it promised.

"Damn, Cube. I think you melted."
In a summer full of disappointments, Straight Outta Compton holds many factors that will bring it continued success. Not only does it capture these musical geniuses in a new light, it maintains a cutting edge feel and tone that will keep it on replay in blu-ray players and streaming services for years to come. Just like Ray or The Doors, this motion picture is vast in scope while painting a vivid portrait of a long lost era of hip hop that was ruled by attitude, drugs, guns, and an excessive lifestyle that eventually came to an explosive head. 

If you're a music fan or grew up during these defining moments in gangster rap, you'll probably love this historical journey through the profane landscape of hip-hop. Straight Outta Compton is flawed in some of its scripting and does begin to ramble during its last forty five minutes. With a little trimming and just a bit more focus on the conclusion, my rating may have been higher. However, this is the highlight of F. Gary Gray's career. 

Bring on the Public Enemy movie!



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