Straight Outta Compton

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
Straight Outta Compton

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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.

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Details

Release details

Release date:
Friday August 28 2015
Duration:
147 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
F. Gary Gray
Screenwriter:
Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman
Cast:
O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Corey Hawkins
Jason Mitchell
Paul Giamatti

Users say (8)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
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Tastemaker

Having always been a closet NWA fan, I was secretly thrilled when the film was announced and had been counting down the days to it's release. I was even nervous about watching it because I had hyped it up so much in my head, but boy did it impress! The casting was superb, the topics covered were relevant and there were so many emotions and such amazing acting. So much more than just gangs and violence, this is a must see film!!


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.  

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Tastemaker

Straight Outta Compton... I've been looking forward to seeing the film for months and I wasn't disappointed! NWA were prominent just before my time but as an avid rap listener and fan of NWA music, I hoped that this film would do them justice. From the beginning of the film when Eazy-E appeared on screen, I was gripped. It was fast-paced, serious, political, dramatic, real hilarious at times and amazing from start to finish. I was hooked! From their rise to fame, to their break up; through Eazy-E's death and Dre starting his own record label, there wasn't one moment I wasn't engaged or interested. I really, really, REALLY, enjoyed this film. For me at least, it did justice for the NWA story. I would recommend this to anyone, even if you didn't know NWA or anything about them, by the end of the film you would DEFINITELY have an opinion on them, to say the least! A must-see!

Tastemaker

Extremely good film - was over 2 hours long but I didn't want it to end. Was a great perspective on the era, and the acting was very impressive all round. There could have been more focus on the main characters' family relationships (such as with their wives/children), especially as the relationships were not always as successful as their music so it would have painted a more balanced picture of the characters.

Tastemaker

My friend and I went slightly apprehensive that we would find it offensive or irritating and we were both blown way. I felt completely drawn in and involved with the characters. It left me wanting to know far more about their lives and how 'true' the story is. I would really recommend this film if you are interested in music, race relations or even just the way people are with each other  - how loyalty conflicts with self interest - the way you can get bamboozled by money. It's a film that leaves you with lots of conflicted feelings. The characters are flawed, violent and often ruthless, but they are also really sympathetic and 'real'. 

Tastemaker

This film is brought to life by some excellent acting and a soundtrack that had me singing/rapping/bopping along throughout the movie. Even if you don't know anything about NWA or hip hop, this is a great film, and gives an eye opening account of the relationship between the police and African Americans at the time. Even more eye opening is that many of these disturbing scenes could be set in present day America. All in all - the perfect combination of education and entertainment.

Tastemaker

I was not sure what to expect from this movie but if you like music, history or politics this is a really great telling of all three! Having grown up on the music from this film, it was really refreshing to see the story told from the point of view of the rappers that made the industry what it is today. Ice Cube is played by Ice Cube's real-life son and it is scarily good how well he gets his mannerisms down.  Well worth a watch!


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.