• Joshua Buck

Straight Outta Compton (2015) Review

The rap 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.

The first scene we see is a bright yellow night sequence that feels more like a nightmare rather than a reality and this is where we first see Easy E played by Jason Mitchell dealing in drugs to what looks like a house dedicated to this activity. This is where we see the subject matter of the movie as the police raid them and a neighbour walks past and is arrested for observing what is going on.

There is a great moment of white privilege in the movie where the whole of NWA is arrested for simply standing outside. It is only when their manager Jerry Heller, played by Paul Giamatti intervenes and challenges the police officers and screams that they are his clients and that the officers “you can’t treat them like that because of the colour of their skin” and it is a really powerful moment. Paul Giamatti’s performance is excellent. Talking of performances, I have to mention O’shea Jackson Jr’s performance of Ice Cube it was very captivating and thought his portrayal of Ice Cube was amazing.

This film shows that when 3 talents come together it creates something that is truly amazing and that shook the music world. Causing a stir in Los Angeles NWA in this movie gave a voice to the community and no scene is more representative of this than when they get told not to perform “F*** the police” at a concert and with police in the crowd they do anyway. The police move through and it turns into an uproar and gunshots are fired. It is this point of the movie where the film makes a significant change in tone. What goes from friends making music that they love turns into artists fighting for their right for freedom of speech and using their platform to bring change.

The film almost feels completely split into the two parts NWA’s rise and then after that, it is how it has affected all of their lives and I don’t think this is a bad thing. It would’ve been easy to paint an easy biography and there be no fall but it wasn’t that easy for NWA so it makes sense for the film to be split the way it is.

I think the pacing of the film is really good and the story has conflict throughout the movie almost from every angle possible not once does this feel like this movie has 1 driving force against NWA it feels like a multitude of different things and this felt really refreshing.

I may argue that the film might be slightly too long and some things could’ve been cut but that is just my own personal preference.

Overall, I think this is a really good movie that has a great story and isn’t your standard biopic. With great performances and a strong theme in the movie, it makes it for an excellent watch.

I rate this movie: 4/5.

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