Movie Review: ‘Straight Outta Compton’

“The gravity of this narrative is not mine to tell. Nor should it be left up to the media to report. No, this film’s shocking story belongs to those who lived it and survived it… 

“What the rest of us can take away from the movie is a better understanding of our cross cultures that can’t be captured in 10-second soundbites or three-minute news stories.”          – REEL BRIEF.com

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The origins of hip hop gangsta rap music trace back to the mid ’80s and a trio of young, hard-pressed blacks attempting to escape the dangerous streets of Compton, California. Facing a nearly certain future of either being “locked-up or laid down”, the group musters together to produce the only thing they know—hard-hitting, profane rap music.

This biographical film follows the controversial lives of Andre Young, O’Shea Jackson and Eric Wright as they achieve notoriety, fandom and their more commonly known rapper names of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. Creating music with incendiary lyrics and violent rhymes, these street-savvy rappers take on everyone and everything standing between them and platinum-selling albums.

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“Straight Outta Compton” is an intense and raw film. The movie’s story is yet another key dot which must be connected in order to have an honest, complete conversation on black-white relations in America.

These hip hop rapper rants which spewed anti-police lyrics, derogatory comments towards women and glorified drug use 25 years ago all remain in abundance today, though championed by other voices within our society. But “Straight Outta Compton” doesn’t just take on cops, drugs and women. This film expounds the powerful backdrop of black-on-black violence, providing historic context on how we’ve gotten to where we are in 2015.

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The gravity of this narrative is not mine to tell. Nor should it be left up to the media to report. No, this film’s shocking story belongs to those who lived it and survived it…Ice Cube (played by his real-life son O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr.Dre (6-time Grammy Award winner) and Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Wright—all producers on this true life gem. What the rest of us can take away from the movie is a better understanding of our cross cultures that can’t be captured in 10-second soundbites or three-minute news stories.

An intense and riveting red meat film, “Straight Outta Compton” pulls no punches and should expect the same in return from moviegoers. Between the constant use of the N-word, graphic sex and violence, and ruthless subject matter from these rappers’ music, this film warrants viewer caution. Lots of caution. From the 1988 album that this film is titled after, comes this group’s warning; “Parental Discretion Iz Advised” (sic).

For those able to keep an open mind with a willingness to see and hear other points of view, you’ll gain fascinating knowledge of a music period that still influences our lives on the radio and television today. And knowledge is power.

Grade: A

“Straight Outta Compton” is rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence and drug use.  Its running time is 2 hours and 27 minutes.

© 2015, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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