Straight Outta Compton has received some negative criticism for its heroic depiction of the movie's ensemble cast. Amid naysayers, the movie has also hit box office records grossing over $100 million worldwide.
This epic retelling of the rise and fall of hip hop's breakthrough rap group, NWA, has been finely trimmed to inform, entertain, and inspire the aging generation of the group's fans, and their children. Rising stars: Jason Mitchell (Eazy E), O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), and Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), all deliver gritty performances navigating the group member's lives on and off stage.
At the onset of the film, we meet our title characters in the underserved community of Compton, CA. Each member is traveling the same road differently. From then we are watching skillful screenwriters (Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman) weave the life of a hustler, DJ, and lyricist together in about one act.
The group is formed and funded by what seems to be illegal money until the "white heroic" character, played empathetically by Paul Giamatti, offers them a life altering opportunity to sign with his apparently archaic record company. At first the deal seems sweet, but the demon in the music industry quickly rears its ugly head, and the group members separate to launch solo careers.
Before this movie, the history of NWA might have been restricted to their fans, and lovers of hip-hop. But in the hands of F. Gary Gray, film director who began his career making music videos, their history is now American history we can no longer ignore or erase.
The story speaks of America's problems today. Leaping over cultural biases it explores the universal themes of friendship, ambition, and even discrimination.
But why the film's depiction of police brutality is not just history opens the floor for an entirely different discussion.
This is just a review. Go see Straight Outta Compton while you still have time.