Director: F. Fary Fray
Runtime: 147 minutes
Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Marlon Yates Jr., R. Marcos Taylor, Carra Patterson, Paul Giamatti
Description: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.
Review: Compton, a ghetto in Los Angeles, was the birth place of the legendary rap group N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitudes) with members like Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. At the end of the 1980s the group introduced the audience to gangsta rap.
Dr. Dre and Ice Cube worked as producer for “Straight Outta Compton”, so no lack of detail. Director F. Gary Gray is also familiar with them, because he worked with both rappers for several music videos.
Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) realizes that he can’t be a drugs dealer for the rest of his life. So when friend Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) suggests that together with Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) they can form the rap group N.W.A, it’s an easy choice. After the first single, financed with drug money, Eazy-E is approached by Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) to manage the group.
Everything seems to go fine for a while; the money keeps coming in and their controversial raps seem to have a growing audience. But the unevenly divided money brings tension to the group and their friendship starts showing some cracks.
The explosive opening of “Straight Outta Compton” sets the tone and grabs your attention immediately. And it doesn’t let you go the entire runtime. The problems with the police and how they threat the young men is a returning theme throughout the film. But with a characteristic song like “Fuck Tha Police” that’s not strange.
With a line of unknown actors (with Ice Cube’s son for instance) you don’t expect much acting wise, but the men all manage to stand strong even when they are up against veteran Paul Giamatti. They look like the actual N.W.A. members which also adds to the believability.
some less interesting business conflicts get the overhand towards the end a bit, but the way to that is filmed vividly. It feels like you are living it with them, the ups and downs, the way to the top.
The story behind the rap group N.W.A. is definitely not just for hip hop fans. “Straight Outta Compton” shows that a biopic can also succeed because of the quality of the story, not just the people it’s about. And like the album this movie references, the movie is worth double platinum.
Rating: 4,5/ 5