Five Reasons You’ll Love It - August 26, 2015

Straight Outta Compton: Five Reasons You'll Love It
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Straight Outta Compton: Five Reasons You'll Love It

Charting the rise of L.A. rap group N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton blasted its way into cinemas this year and is due to arrive in stores early in 2016, with an hmv exclusive steelbook edition now up for pre-order (you can find the link on the right-hand side of this page). Directed by F. Gary Gray, the man behind Friday and the remake of The Italian Job, the new biopic details the group's formation in the mid 1980s, their rise to stardom and notoriety, their split and their eventual reconciliation before the death of one of its members, Eazy-E, in 1991.

We went to catch an early screening of the film before it hit cinemas earlier this year, here are five reasons you'll love it...

 

There's a lot of promising acting talent on display here...

With the exception of Paul Giamatti, who appears as the band's manager Jerry Heller, the cast for Straight Outta Compton isn't packed with big names, but it really doesn't matter. Corey Hawkins, who takes on the role of Andre 'Dr. Dre' Young, is particularly impressive, as is Jason Mitchell in the role of Eric 'Eazy-E' Wright, and that's before you even get to O'Shea Jackson Jr., who appears as his own father Ice Cube and looks so much like him it is genuinely spooky. All three look set for big things and on this showing there's every chance that Jackson Jr. can follow in his old man's footsteps.

 

The soundtrack is awesome...

Obviously if you're fan of N.W.A. you're going to enjoy the soundtrack, which features all of the group's best known tunes, as well as plenty of material from Ice Cube's solo career and Dre's later career as a producer with artists like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, but it doesn't stop there. The film also charts Dre's pre-N.W.A. career as a DJ with the World Class Wreckin' Cru and the soundtrack features music from the likes of Roy Ayers, Zapp, George Clinton and Grand Funk Railroad, among plenty of other gems.

It's not all gangs and guns...

N.W.A. were often accused by their detractors of glamourising violence, but it was never that simple and the film does a good job providing some context for their music and their actions. Sure, there are some scenes featuring violences, but the film doesn't dwell on them and there are some genuinely tender moments too, such as the scene in which Dre receives news of his younger brother's death while the group are on tour and the other members huddle around him for support. It's really touching.

 

The unfolding rap beef between Ice Cube and the others is great fun to watch...

When Ice Cube leaves the group after two albums, feeling he has been treated unfairly by Eazy and Heller, the other members respond by dissing him on a new track, but Cube responds in kind and one of the film's best scenes involves the other members sitting around in Eazy's house listening to his response. It's not pretty, but it sure is fun to watch it unfold.

 

It offers a pretty honest view of the music industry...

That may or may not be a good thing, but Straight Outta Compton is brutally honest about the darker side of the industry and doesn't try too hard to make the band members look good. Jerry Heller comes out of it fairly badly, exploiting the naivety of the young men under his charge, but even then the film is pretty balanced in its portrayal of the main players and avoids painting him, or anyone else, as a kind of super-villain. Yes, some aspects of the group's rise to stardom are given short shrift or skipped over, but there's a lot of story to get through here and the film is already on the long side at just over two and a half hours. All in all, Gray deserves some credit for getting the balance just about right.

 

 

Straight Outta Compton - Official Global Trailer

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