Film Review: 'Straight Outta Compton'

Film Review: 'Straight Outta Compton'

Eddie Goldsmith


Like most suburban white kids, I too went through a phase where I was briefly but passionately engulfed by the rap game, and N.W.A was the foundation for this awkward period in life. 'Straight Outta Compton' brought me back to a time when I thought five-pan hats were a socially acceptable form of attire and the more basketball jerseys I owned the better I would one day be at basketball.

Well, years later I can proudly say I no longer own five-pan hats, I would describe my game on the hardwood as Derek Fisher-Lite, and all those years spent listening to the pioneers of gangsta rap probably did more for my vocabulary than any Year Nine English class.

This movie also happened to make all those years worth it.

It's a solid film. As far as music biopics go it's very good, shown by it now being the highest grossing music biopic of all time, but there are just a few things that keep it from being great.

The pacing at times is strange and feels a little off. Obviously their rise was rapid, however it seems to me that they spend more time fleshing out the beef between Ice Cube and the rest of the gang than they do coming up.

It all feels a bit rushed.

Don't get me wrong, the scene with Cube replying with 'No Vaseline' and cutting to their reactions was great and one of my favourites, but it also seemed odd that they spend so much time on the feud and not their rise.

Even the Rodney King trials would make a lot more sense to focus more time on, given its clear relevance to the current social climate in America and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

There is only so much time in a film to cover over a decade of material, but some aspects were glazed over that would only need a few seconds of coverage. Most notable of these aspects was Dr. Dre's notorious affinity for violently abusing women. 

Really? We couldn't get one pimp slap? Bet you wish that was something they Forgot About Dre...

Sorry...

The focus is mainly on Eazy-E, Cube and Dre, with Suge Knight acting as the main antagonist for much of the film. Really all this film confirmed for me is that Suge is almost definitely responsible for Tupac's death.

Cube is actually played by his own real-life son (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), who is a very good angry Ice Cube but at times failed to really elicit a more emotional response from me as Eazy-E's health deteriorates, which was intended to be the most powerful scene in the film. Unfortunately, Corey Hawkins' portrayal of Dre very much feels like someone portraying Dre rather than Dre himself, which took me out of the film at several key moments and ruined my suspension of disbelief. 

Luckily Jason Mitchell's great performance as Eazy keeps it from falling into a film just about Cube and Dre, where at times you can tell that they were producers on the film. 

Overall, the film is really good. The soundtrack is obviously great and many N.W.A songs are incorporated really well without seeming forced. There are many little Easter eggs for some more keen followers of the group and hip hop history. 

Since it's going to make the comparisons, I enjoyed it more than the Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious, and if you're a fan of the hip hop genre it's definitely a film that's worth a watch at least once.


7/10



Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.