“Straight Outta Compton”, was another film I could not wait to see in 2015. In fact, it was number three on my Most Anticipated Films of 2015 behind only J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman” follow-up, “The Revenant”. The trailers for the film were electric, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were godfathering the film, the cast looked good, the director was established, and the music was going to be great.
“Straight Outta Compton” is everything I hoped for and more. It is a hot-blooded, entertaining, epic bio-pic that captivated me from start to finish.
The film follows the formation and decline of hip-hop group N.W.A. We start with five black teens, known as Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), MC Ren (Aldis Hodge), and DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), growing up in Compton, California in the mid 80’s, as they hustle and survive the streets from drug dealers, gangsters, and racist cops. They catch a big break when their song, “Boyz-n-da-Hood” is heard by music agent Jerry Heller (Paul Giammati), who then introduces the group to a record company and gets them time to make a album, which would end up being the landmark album, ‘Straight Outta Compton’. I don’t want to give a lot of the story away, as the film is extremely grand in scope and story, but from then on, the film shows us the parties, the concerts, the controversies, the egos, and the tragedies that occurred to the member over the next decade.
This film has one of the best ensemble casts of the year. The relative unknown actors play the legendary group to perfection. They look like them, sound like them, and carry themselves and have mannerisms like them. Hawkins, Mitchell and Jackson Jr., who is actually the son of Ice Cube, are all worthy of awards consideration of their spot on portrayals. Paul Giammati gives yet another excellent performance as the scummy, yet business focused Heller. And R. Marcos Taylor deserves a shout out for being terrifyingly perfect as hip-hop mogul Suge Knight.
Along with the perfect cast, this is also an impeccably made film. Matthew Libatique’s beautiful and gritty cinematography adds an artistic, visual flare. F Gary Gray does the best work of his career behind the camera as well. With a film spanning over a decade and runtime of over two and a half hours, Gray keeps us enthralled through every second. He made a movie that makes us laugh, cry, bob our heads to the music and brings us to the edge of our seats with intensity. I couldn’t think of another director who could have made this film but Gray.
“Straight Outta Compton” is a landmark film that should be seen by everyone. It is one of the best musical bio-pics I have ever seen and one of the very best movies of 2015.
MY RATING – 4/4
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