Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

imageF. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton (A-) tells the origin story of rap group N.W.A. with a sense of immediacy that reflects today’s headlines and a genuine gravitas that traces the family tree of the gangsta rap movement with poignancy and panache. Jason Mitchell is the breakout star as charismatic tragic hero Eazy-E, with O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube and Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre also giving outstanding performances as the music group members each put their personal stamp on the sound and the fury of a business born in chaos. Paul Giamatti is also effective as their duplicitous manager. Gray does a strong job coloring in the period details against a backdrop of events such as the L.A. riots and with a singular soundscape that pulses with momentum. He transforms the biopic and its usual tenets into an epic that rings true today with insights about the first amendment, crime and policing in America and finding one’s own voice no matter where you’re from.


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