A Film About the Injustices in Society
NWA are considered to be the founders of Gangsta rap. Straight Outta Compton was their first album and changed hip hop forever. Straight Outta Compton is a biographical film about the group’s formation, rise to stardom, and fall. It was written by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (writer of World Trade Center (2006)). Universal Studios and Legendary Pictures financed it, and it is being produced by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. F. Gary Gray, who directed Friday and a few of NWA’s music videos, directed Straight Outta Compton. The creative team has produced contemporary biopic classic because of the story, tone, cinematography, and the performances of the three lead actors.
Straight Outta Compton begins with Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) collecting money from the selling of drugs when the Compton police raid the house. Eazy barely escapes and helps him alter his perspective on life. Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) is a low level DJ for a club barely making any money when he is kicked out by his mom. Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) is in high school and writing lyrics for his own group. Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are friends and want to rap about the real world in which they live, see, and are apart of everyday in Compton, CA. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube perform at the local and are scolded by the club’s owner for trying to insight a riot. Dr. Dre gets arrested by the police for standing outside the club and is bailed out by Eazy. Dr. Dre and Eazy formulate a plan to make hardcore rap record, and they along with Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince form NWA. They make a single sung by Eazy-E and it becomes a smash hit throughout California. Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) approaches Eazy about being the manager of NWA, and the rise of NWA and Gangsta rap begins.
Straight Outta Compton is exceptionally well written and directed. The film’s story parallels today’s society in suburbia and urban America. Music fanatic or fans of the group will know how Straight Outta Compton, but the film doesn’t focus on the group aspect like a musical documentary. It tells the story of the racial profiling that Oakland area and other giant cities are known for. Ice Cube walks out of a house where the Compton police are inspecting black people for drug. The police force him into submission and pat him down for drugs. The scene is shot so well and the cinematography makes you feel the disgust toward the police force from the citizens. The film also has several scenes about Rodney King riots and there so realistic. Straight Outta Compton creates the perspective why the song “Fuck tha Police” was written and sung with such anger and hostility from the group. The acting in the movie is also exceptional.
(The clip above shows the personalities of every character and very representative of the real life members of NWA. It also gives you a sense how amazing each actor is in this movie.)
O’Shea Jackson, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell embody all of the characteristics and qualities of their real life counterparts. Jackson is Ice Cube’s son, and he has that snarl and cold face that his dad is known for throughout the movie.
Hawkins embodied Dr. Dre’s attitude and musical ear. Dr. Dre has always wanted to produce great music with any musical artist, and Hawkins displays that in his scenes with the actor who played Snoop Dog and Tupac. Jason Mitchell plays Eazy-E and the real life man had outgoing attitude. Mitchell encompasses that attitude, and he’s so enjoyable in the film. Mitchell grabbed the audience’s attention when they first saw him on screen. The three actors along with Neil Brown (played DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (played) MC Ren formed such a great dynamic on screen. Hollywood might have the Avengers but this were the musical Avengers who talked about the real problems in society. The actors nailed that aspect of the NWA and made the audience feel like they were part of the group’s chemistry. Paul Giamatti plays Jerry Heller, NWA’s manager.
Overall, Straight Outta Compton is very good movie. It is probably one of my favorite movies of the year. The last thirty minutes really shifts into drama instead a musical biopic which is the biggest weakness. Straight Outta Compton gets 4.5 out of 5.