Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Straight Outta Compton (Dir. F Gary Gray/2015)
Glorifying the boys from N.W.A., you’d think Straight Outta Compton is a difficult sell. But it arrives at the perfect time. With our awareness of events in Ferguson and Baltimore, though racial tensions of America aren’t front and centre in Straight Outta Compton, it lurks in the background. In true American Dream style, Dr Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr) and Eazy E (Jason Mitchell) claw their way up from the streets of LA to the murky world of success, fame and fortune. Though framed in a glossy manner and with bikini-women, sauntering around, it all leads to a shocking ending that, if caught unaware, is truly heart-breaking. Negating the sexism and bias (surely inevitable when the producers are portrayed in the film), Straight Outta Compton is primarily a story of music, passion and expression. Whether you like rappers or not, the witty rhyming retort from Ice Cube in ‘No Vaseline’, and his expert delivery play out as a mesmerising key sequence. ‘F*** the Police’ too, serves as a poignant reminder that this angry shout is a protest against an unfair system. The bubbling issues that play out in the background raise this biographical brotherly tale to a relevant, immediate social commentary. Remember, this is the late 1980’s and 1990’s – it could be today. They watch footage of Rodney King on TV. With video footage, surely the police will get their comeuppance. We know they don’t. This is smart filmmaking, as a fans film becomes astute criticism.