Monday, September 14, 2015

Movie review - Straight Outta Compton (R) - Review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 147 min

Straight Outta Compton is a new biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The movie tells the story of the rap group known as N.W.A. and includes former members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre amongst the producers of the film. Starring in the movie are, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge and Paul Giamatti. As a pretty big fan of the hip hop genre, I was looking forward to seeing this flick, but my expectations weren’t exactly all that high to say the least. In the end, I had a blast with Straight Outta Compton, and it may very well be the surprise hit of the summer blockbuster season.

The film begins in the year 1986, primarily set in what is perhaps the most dangerous city in the country; Compton, California. A group of five friends, including Ice Cube (Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Hawkins), Eazy-E (Mitchell), DJ Yella (Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Hodge) form N.W.A. under the label of Ruthless Records. Following the early success of their debut single, an agent named Jerry Heller (Giamitti) is hired as the group’s manager and they are subsequently picked up by Priority Records. The majority of the film then covers the rise and fall of this influential group as they use their powerful music to change hip hop forever. 

Overall, the rather lengthy run time of this film had me entertained from start to finish. The first thing that stood out was how incredibly realistic these seemingly unknown actors looked as they were portraying these distinct cultural icons. Towards the end of the film, I was practically convinced that I was watching Ice Cube himself on the screen and not O’Shea Jackson. Building off that, I thought that every member of the cast did an exceptional job acting, especially Paul Giamitti in his crucial supporting role. Furthermore, there were more than a few intense moments that were honestly pretty moving. As far as the music goes, you could tell that a lot of the lyrics were simply voiced over, but somehow they still made it work quite effectively. I also enjoyed the style the movie was shot in and liked the entertaining pace that it had. As long as you can get past some of the rather extreme content that comes with this type of film, Straight Outta Compton shouldn't be missed.

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