Straight Outta Compton
Time Out says
Audience advisory: this enjoyable but authorised biopic of rap legends NWA contains clichés and avoids hard truths
Pioneers of ‘reality rap’ (we now call it gangsta) NWA deserve their own movie. No doubt. But is the often sentimental, occasionally dull ‘Straight Outta Compton’ the best version of that movie? Only partly. There’s enjoyable humour (and beautiful acting) as brow-furrowed, rhyme-scribbling teen Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr, Cube’s real-life lookalike son), shrewd drug dealer Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright (Jason Mitchell) and frustrated DJ Andre (Corey Hawkins) come together in the studio, hatch Ruthless Records and miracle a brilliant single into being, 1987’s ‘Boyz-n-the-Hood’.
But the film could use more than its whiff of radical revolution, which we get in scenes where the band is hassled by cops for simply standing on the corner. Invading a mainstream that would soon be dominated by Vanilla Ice, NWA came across like terrorists, and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ mostly forgets to include that larger cultural revulsion. Meanwhile, the group’s Jewish manager (Paul Giamatti) goes from friend to enemy, the city of Los Angeles explodes during the 1992 Rodney King riots, and we’re meant to be dramatically satisfied by… contract disputes?
There’s way too much inside money talk here, when a simpler plot – one about a band whose apocalyptic vision comes to pass – would have been plenty.
Cast and crew
Users say (8)
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
I can't say I was ever an NWA fan, but I love hip-hop and I was pretty stoked to see a movie that promised to shed the light on the group's legacy. For the most part it worked, with its combination of strong acting (including a top debut from Ice Cube's son), catchy music and a timely narrative (in light of the #blacklivesmatter movement). But it was pretty idealistic too. NWA were purveyors of gangster rap, a facet of hip-hop that has never shied away from violence and misogyny - but it felt like SOOC wanted to brush that under the carpet and position the group as rebels with a cause instead. Can't say I completely bought that - but I guess that's Hollywood for you. And to be honest, it's not the worse film you could watch. It's just not a very accurate one.ReplyShareMore
This electrifying film shows how NWA distilled the rage, anger and hatred of racist oppression into an art form that speaks to millions. The group represent the American Dream made flesh. How refreshing to see images of multi-faceted representations of black manhood.