Straight Outta Compton, directed by F. Gary Gray was the number one movie in America at the box office for three weeks straight upon it’s opening on August, 14. While it has been dethroned by War Room, the film has earned the title of the highest grossing biopic of all time, beating out such famous biopic films like Walk the Line, and Ray.
For being number one at the box office for three weeks and also becoming the highest grossing biopic film of all time, is this film worthy of all the money and accolades it is receiving?
Straight Outta Compton is story of the infamous rap group, N.W.A., and their rise and fall of fame. It showcases their very explicit music and brutally honest attitude against the law and their home life in Compton, California.
Prejudice and conflict
The film begins with the five members of N.W.A. (Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Ice Cube) in their hometown of Compton, accentuating the rough and dangerous environment they grew up in. Dr. Dre convinces Eazy-E, after having some conflict with the police, to consider a music career instead of a life consumed with drugs and violence. Alongside the other members they create their first hit single, Boyz N the Hood. With the help of manager Jerry Heller, Ruthless Records is born, and N.W.A. takes off.
Throughout the course of their success, the group experiences much protest to everything from the explicit lyrics they sing, what clothes they wear, or their skin color. A scene where the police threatens to arrest them, and then does, if they don’t obey the rules of omitting certain songs from their setlist is a very memorable part of the film.
Internal drama begins to diminish the overnight success of the group, and soon enough N.W.A. is over. Delving into their solo careers, Straight Outta Compton throws everything they’ve got at the audience, and quickly.
In a time where many people were discouraged from utilizing their freedom of speech, and ‘expressing themselves,’ N.W.A. brought a voice no one had ever heard before.
The business of N.W.A.
The first half of the film is truly amazing. Between the music, the energy, and the fast pace of the hour. It has everything that N.W.A. stood for and takes the audience back in time to when this legendary rap group was on top.
The second half, while equally as amazing, is a huge pace difference from the first half. While still focusing on the group and their individual careers, the film shifts to the business side of things with N.W.A.
What the first half offered is never captured again for the remainder of the film. Is that bad? Not necessarily. It is still very intriguing to watch even with much of the energy from the first half gone. It actually made me want to watch more from this film than what the filmmakers gave us.
This film is pretty lengthy, clocking in at almost two and a half hours. The original cut was three and a half hours, and I honestly would have watched that extra hour if that meant I could have seen more of these characters.
Bridging the gap between generations with casting
Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray’s track record are films like Friday and The Italian Job. Gray also produced the film alongside former N.W.A. members, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre and widow of Eazy-E, Tamica Woods-Wright. This is probably his most solid work at directing a drama by keeping everything relatable and easy to get wrapped up in.
Cast Members include famous actor, Paul Giamatti, as manager Jerry Heller. Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. was casted to play his father, Jason Mitchell plays Eazy-E, and Corey Hawkins plays Dr. Dre. All cast members do a magnificent job playing their roles, as each one of them fully puts themselves into the lives of the former N.W.A. members with solid performances and even such resemblance to their characters. It’s scary.
It was a wise choice to have these actors play these artists we’ve known for so long, because they were very unknown. It helps the audience be fully convinced of these characters really being these people and not having to rely on A-list actors. The actors they got to play these artists, too, are also able to rap their parts as well. The film does tend to have them lip sync as well during certain parts of the movie, but it is nothing distracting.
This film really impressed me. I honestly did not know anything about this movie until two days before the film officially came out. Not only is this film great and reminded me of this famous group of people, but this may be my personal favorite film of 2015 (tugging between this and Inside Out). Straight Outta Compton, from beginning to end, is an entertaining and intriguing drama that will remind the old fans of the famous rap group, N.W.A. while also attract newcomers to the group about their music and may even get them interested with their music and the other member’s solo careers.