In 1988, an innovative new musical group revolutionized pop culture, changing the way we know hip-hop forever. The group, N.W.A’s first album, “Straight Outta Compton”, created some controversy because of its honest depiction of life in Compton, California. With the assistance of their manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), members Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Easy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) have to steer their way through the music industry while acquiring fame, fortune and a place in history along the way.
One thing I liked about this film was how authentic it was. It definitely sounds and looks like the late 80s with the soundtrack, the decor, and the wardrobe. I’ve never really been a fan of rap music ,or even music in general but I don’t think you have to be to enjoy this film. The group in question has 5 members but the film really focuses on 2 (Ice Cube and Dr. Dre) and also Easy-E to a lesser extent. The performances were great across the board where O’Shea Jackson Jr’s Ice Cube and Jason Mitchell’s Easy-E standing out. Despite some of the dramatic moments coming off a little cheesy (a common complaint I have with certain dramatic films), there were still decent moments with the acting making up for the others. I thought the story flowed well for the most part even with the 2 and a half hour running time. I thought the beginning and end were strong but it lagged a little in the middle. The story was told in a way that felt real going back to the point I made about authenticity. You get to see what they had to live through and how they were able to overcome it and make something out of themselves. The dialogue was authentic in that it featured certain words that are not in my vocabulary but I would think they would be in theirs and I assume that was where the film’s 18A/R rating came from. My favorite thing about this film other than the acting was the musical performances. I think they were well shot in that they made you feel like you were there and what added to that feeling was the sound work that captured the crowds and their noise. What I didn’t like about the film was how they depicted police officers. They were a little too over-the-top for me which came across a little unrealistic in that I understand what that time was like but it’s unlikely that they would all be the way they were. Some people may be offended by the language, nudity, drugs, and/or violence but that was what they were like and not having these would mean not telling the story properly. People should not be surprised by any of this considering the rating and the subject matter. I did not mind this and I think that most wouldn’t either.
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