The story of NWA omits some of the less favourable details, but still entertains
You don’t have to be a rap fan to love Straight Outta Compton. The biopic follows the young Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E as they form the iconic rap group NWA.
The aspect of the film that everyone can’t stop talking about is the casting. Every actor either looks exactly like the person they play, or has their mannerisms down pat, even down to the Snoop Dogg and Tupac cameos.
The standout is O’Shea Jackson Jr., who plays his father, Ice Cube. The resemblance is uncanny. A powerful scene has Cube taking a baseball bat to his label’s office after being denied a promised advance. In the scene, Cube talks about having a kid on the way. This of course ended up being the actor himself.
Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E) and Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre) also give great performances alongside the passionate Paul Giamatti. The brotherhood between the boys cements the film and has you rooting for them even if you disagree with some of their decisions.
While you will hear NWA’s greatest hits several times, they are never played in full, giving you just enough to get the nostalgia pumping without getting tired. Seeing that the film covers several action-packed years in only 147 minutes, there are definitely side plots that get lost in the shuffle. We see Dre’s baby mama decide to move away with his son early in the film, and they are never seen or heard from again.
Many critics have also pointed out that the film leaves out some of the things that the real rappers don’t want to remind the public of, like Dre’s history of domestic abuse.
The timing of its release is beneficial to its success. NWA was formed around the time of the Rodney King beating, and issues of police using excessive force have been headlining the news recently.
Straight Outta Compton is a 4 out of 5 star heartbreaking yet hopeful film that’s a whole lot of fun.