Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Movie Review - Straight Outta Compton

   I didn't follow the popularity of hip hop during the day it broke out but I was familiar with the names of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and 2Pac and some of their music.  That being the case, Straight Outta Compton was an absolute revelation to me.

   A volatile neighborhood gives birth to a revolutionary kind of music that takes the industry by storm.  But the members let greed and mistrust break up their company.

   Since this film is based on true events, it's shocking to see how much brutality went behind the scenes in the music biz.  Now I know that more than one incident is reinterpreted for the sake of dramatization but even if a fraction of that is to be believed, it is still, a whole, something to be aghast at. The streets were vicious to begin with and it remained so, even when respectability creeped in.  All the rawness is rough and jagged and the degree of honestly is applauded, even though the fictional elements versus true life is unsure.  Best to think that the real events weren't as harsh.  The attention to detail and craft is top notch.

   The actors were all superb in their roles, young hopefuls filling big shoes of larger than life personalities.  But they pull it off with convincing attitude and rep to portray the toughness and eventual bad blood they develop.  A huge part would be their singing as well and they acquit themselves admirably.  Bravo to those involved.

   Fans of the genre would love the music being revisited and important events being touched upon, possibly being seen in person or on tv in the past.  Accuracy depends or is to be debated.  The film might be taken as definitive but it's the survivors who write the history books, or in this case, make the movie.  The lives of the group were dramatic enough as it was, even if they didn't have to fabricate new information.  This is a raw history lesson gleaned from the streets and even if hip hop isn't your bag, this is one film that you should take seriously.

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