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Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015): A flawed biographical film but manages to entertain nonetheless!

genre: biography, drama, music

This film is significant for me because of the nostalgia factor. This marks the time that I got introduced to gangsta rap and while I wasn't their biggest fan N.W.A. sure made an impression. I started listening to all kinds of rap and hiphop and was loving it. However while I can appreciate the tunes I never had a real desire to find out more about groups like N.W.A. that much since those biographies can bore easily. Fortunately this is not the case with Straight Outta Compton.

As far as I can tell the film does a good job of showing us some important facts and events. But I do think it also skips on some essential details that could have made it more interesting. Especially concerning Jerry Heller and Suge Knight. How exactly did they cheat or betray Ice Cube, Easy-E and Dr. Dre? It basically comes down to that they mention that they have but never make it clear if it really was intentional or common practice like Jerry (Paul Giamatti) claims. I mean would this not have happened with other managers and producers? I wanted to learn more about that. This film also managed to move me with certain scenes because they seemed heartfelt and real. Especially the ones featuring Eazy-E played by Jason Mitchell. You can read about these moments in the following article where real facts get compared to the movie. But there are also the typical scenes that appear in almost every other biographical work concerning musicians. You know the scenes with the groupies, sex, parties and drugs that are there to surprise and shock you. Yeah, those scenes don't impress me no more. I get it you have found riches and fame and those wild parties and hot women come with it. 

For the most part Straight Outta Compton is a pretty straightforward biopic where a few important moments are highlighted that remains entertaining throughout and of the main reasons is the acting. The cast that has been chosen to depict the roles of the people involved are all exceptional. If the actor who plays Ice Cube seems like the spitting image of him then there is a very good explanation for that. It's Ice Cube's son. He did not get the role automatically. He had to audition for it like everyone else. And he certainly done his father proud. The one that really impressed me was Jason Mitchell (also starring in Keanu). He was phenomenal. He stole every scene he was in. Even in the ones with Paul Giamatti and that is not easy to accomplish. One other reason is of course the music. When I heard the songs and music I instantly got transported back to time and it was glorious. 

So is this worth your time? I do think so. But keep in mind this is a pretty by the numbers biopic and probably only will be interesting for people familiar with N.W.A. or people who love rap and hiphop. There is some social commentary in it but far too reserved and composed if you ask me as if they did not want to open up old wounds. 

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