Topical and informative. So this is an origins story of the rap group N.W.A., showing their rise to stardom, and the fracture that occurred in the group when egos and loyalties came into question. I don’t know if you are aware, but it has been a fantastic year for old school hip hop movies. If you heeded my advice and took the time to watch Dope, you already know that we’ve got creative minds doing great things while underscoring stories with classic hip hop songs, and with Straight Outta Compton, we’ve got another surefire winner.
I love a good hip hop soundtrack, and it doesn’t get any better than right here.
As previously stated, I used to big into hip hop and rap music, and while I don’t listen to it as much anymore, there is still a part of me that appreciates a movie that can utilize its featured music to its full potential. I never got into the whole East Coast vs. West Coast movement, but I was well aware of its existence. With Straight Outta Compton, I feel like I actually learned something about how this all went down. It’s more than just a music movie, this is an origins story, and you get to see where these artists call came from. You buy it completely, and this is largely due to the fact that they have captured the looks of everybody down to the tiny details, and they truly become the people they are portraying, embodying their respective characters entirely. This can’t be all that surprising on all fronts, though, as they got Ice Cube’s son to play Ice Cube. The only truly recognizable face here is Paul Giamatti, so it makes it even easier to buy into these actors you haven’t seen before.
It’s uncanny how well cast this is.
I think that Straight Outta Compton lives up to all of the phenomenal things that you’ve likely already heard about it. With all these numerous stories of police brutality against minorities (too many to cite), this couldn’t come at a time that is more apropos, and it doesn’t flinch, showing you the gritty side of what happened. This is a group that is angry about being oppressed, and they want their voices to be heard. In fact, it really does a great job of showing how cyclical this is; the album referenced in the title came out in 1988, and we are still facing similar issues in 2015. Straight Outta Compton is put together with inspiration, and the energy about it is palpable. With classic hip hop music tying it all together, this is one of the fastest 2 1/2 hours you can spend watching a movie. I almost never say this, but I wouldn’t have minded it being even longer. Even though this is mainly about music, the stakes feel as high as can be. This is a movie that has a whole lot to say, and in this day and age, that’s far better than most.
Straight Outta Compton (2015) ****1/2
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2015? See for yourself here.