RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2015
STUDIO: Universal Pictures
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
SCREENWRITER: Andrea Berloff
STARRING: Paul Giamatti, Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr.
GENRE: Drama, Musical, Biography
Whether you’re a fan of their music or not, the indelible mark NWA left on music is undeniable. The social commentary delivered in their records (while not palatable to all) was prevalent. The crazy thing is the stuff they were talking about in the late 80’s is still applicable today. They stood up to law enforcement, So-called decency groups, and even the FBI went after them for their music. They were truly the World’s Most Dangerous Group and now they have a movie documenting their rise, fall and rebirth from boys to men.
The story starts when all the guy meet up and Dr. Dre pitches the idea of Eric “Eazy-E” Wright putting up the money to record music. They had no intention of getting anything other than famous in their city. But, as is quickly evident they hit on something the world wants to be a part of. There are lots of things that this film touches on and also a lot it passes on showing. Dr. Dre played by Corey Hawkins is overall portrayed as the good kid that happened to be in some bad situations. Maybe he was, but, they never show him slapping an interviewer and only allude to it briefly.They also never mention his Dre’s part in the malicious rap rivalry between him and easy in the Death Row Records early days. Corey Hawkins is decent in his representation of Andre “Dr. Dre” Young. Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. handles playing his father quite well especially as it is his first acting gig that I know of. Especially in the scenes after he goes solo from the group he embodies the “buck the system” attitude Cube brought to his solo music. DJ Yella is almost non existent in the film save for a few small moments of comic relief. Mc Ren played by Aldis Hodge is also a background player with something like 12 lines in total. It’s disappointing as I like Hodge back from his Leverage days on TV.
Eazy-E is played magnificently by Jason Mitchell. Mitchell does a fantastic job as the dearly departed Mr. Wright. He is the most pleasant of surprises and really pulls the viewer in every single time he’s on the screen. The issue with Eazy’s story is the stuff they cut out, like his impact as the head of Ruthless Records after NWA broke up. His demise at the end of the film from his very public battle with HIV is heart wrenching and very hard to not tear up a bit during. His interactions with Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller (who is good in his role as well) are highlights.
Straight Outta Compton I believe is a good movie that could have been great. It needed to be more in depth but at almost 2 and a half hours it was long enough. The length doesn’t affect the viewing experience as I didn’t even notice the length I just wanted more movie. The performances of the 3 main group member actors was adequate to awesome. The movie tugged at the heart strings and shocked at the right times. It was scared it was going to be a VH1 Behind The Music special but was gladly given a decent movie.