Straight Outta Compton  (2015)    75/100

Rating :   75/100                                                                     147 Min        15

Dramatisation of the rise to prominence of N.W.A.(Niggaz Wit Attitudes), the seminal rap group consisting of focal members Eazy-E (played by Jason Mitchell), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), detailing its foundations, socio-political effect and its bitter infighting and eventual split (the film’s name is taken from the title of their debut album and the first track on said album – Compton is a city south of L.A.). Both Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are listed as being among its producers, so you can probably take a lot of it with a pinch of salt, and it’s not a biography of any one of the individuals per se so it has controversially not made any mention of Dre’s several physical abuses of women, but as a cinematic account of part of the music industry it is remarkably refreshing in the energy of the film, the performances, and the way it involves the audience in the music itself.

Mitchell, Hawkins and O’Shea Jackson Jr. all hand in great turns and are performers to expect more from in the future (O’Shea Jackson Jr. is of course Ice Cube’s son, and is indeed his spitting image) – interestingly, one scene features the crew receiving some police harassment courtesy of the L.A.P.D. and the main instigator of it is a black cop – much like was the case in ‘Boyz n the Hood’ (91), which was Ice Cube’s Hollywood breakthrough. With Paul Giamatti in support as N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller and directed by F.Gary Gray (‘Law Abiding Citizen’ 09, ‘The Negotiator’ 98), the film has been given a sinister seal of authenticity by portraying Marion ‘Suge’ Knight (played very well by R. Marcos Taylor) as a bit of a psycho – Knight who reportedly during filming got into an argument onset, one that was ended permanently by him running the other conversants over, killing one outright. In July of this year he was told he would stand trial for the murder.

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