Straight Outta Compton hits Australian cinemas

Keepin’ it real: The NWA boys in Straight Outta Compton.YOU don’t have to be an NWA fan to like Straight Outta Compton.
Nanjing Night Net

You don’t even have to follow rap or hip-hop, though it will mean more to you if you do.

It’s a well-made, well-acted movie that chronicles the historic rise of late 80s ‘reality rappers’ NWA – Ice Cube, Dr Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella – from the mean streets of south Los Angeles to the top of the music world.

Directed by F Gary Gray, who directed Ice Cube in Friday, Straight Outta Compton is so much more than the hip-hop group’s history, tackling race issues, police brutality and using music to make a political point.

The film’s final act is so emotional, honest and raw that many viewers will be brought to tears.

It begins by introducing the three main players, Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright (Jason Mitchell), a small-time drugdealer; Andre ‘Dr Dre’ Young (Corey Hawkins), an unemployed young father with a talent for spinning discs; and O’Shea ‘Ice Cube’ Jackson (played by his real-life lookalike son O’Shea Jackson Jr), teenage lyricist.

The group, funded by Eazy-E, decides to start their own label Ruthless Records, and puts out an EP with their unique sound, immediately making an impact on young audiences dealing with the same daily gun violence, police intimidation and general poor standard of living familiar to the artists.

They catch the eye of manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti, sporting a white ‘do), who promises he can open doors and make their product ‘‘legit’’ in the music industry.

With costuming, fantastic casting and an incredible attention to detail, Straight Outta Compton has faithfully recreated a period of change in musical history.

Hawkins in particular delivers a stand-out performance as Dr Dre, a character who doesn’t have the best lines or the verbal stoushes, but tells the story through his observation of those around him.

Dre’s eventual partnership with the volatile and downright unhinged Suge Knight – who in reality ran over a crew member during filming – brings a whole new level to Hawkins’ performance, and makes for the most suspenseful and unbelievable moments in the film.

Mitchell was the only member of the principal cast whose character is no longer alive, and as such had the most pressure to accurately portray Eazy-E – a feat he definitely pulled off. But it is watching Jackson portraying his own father that is the real highlight of Straight Outta Compton.

The young actor is the spitting image of Ice Cube, and it is easy to forget that you’re not watching the man himself.

Straight Outta Compton is rated MA15+ and is in cinemas now.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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