Review – Straight Outta Compton

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The latest film by director F Gary Gray, Straight Outta Compton, is a form of biopic about the members of the rap group NWA.

The group including members Ice Cube, Dr Dre and Eazy-E, and were key imitators of gangster rap music as it emerged in the late 1980’s.

The film tells the tale of the group initially forming through to its break up and members taking up solo projects. The most notable ones being Dr Dre with his move to Death Row records and solo projects, and Ice Cube who too went solo and also began to transition into film – which interestingly included the film Friday – which was directed by F Gary Gray in his debut film.

Alongside the story of the group, the film also follows the racial tensions with the police in Los Angeles and across the west coast, most keenly witnessed in the time with the Rodney King beating (and trial of the associated officers) and riots following the jury finding them not guilty.

The group had a tense relationship with law enforcement through its lifetime and the film lays out good context to this and their reactions.

For the cast of the film, the main roles are filled with relative unknown performers, Dr Dre portrayed by Corey Hawkins, Eazy-E played by Jason Mitchell and Ice Cube played by his real life son, the actor O’Shea Jackson Jnr.

Each of the three lead role performances are strong with Mitchell especially standing out with his portrayal of the member of the group for whom life after the group was not as successful.

If you were a fan of the group, I would think you will enjoy the film through its reminder of the music and performances of NWA with some more context about them behind the scenes. If you haven’t been a fan, I think the film will still offer an interesting true ‘rags to riches’ tale.

7/10

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