The film is a tour of late eighties Los Angeles. It touches on the large social events, the political landscape, and gives a glimpse into the record industry. It chronicles the birth of gangster rap where 5 guys put the stories of their experiences in the streets to paper, mike and record. It also touches on the controversy of the genre. Is the music causing violent angry criminal behaviour or reflective of what is going on in the community.
Director F. Gary Gray uses a lot of unique devices and strong passages to build tension in the film. He intro's the three main players individually displaying their given then known names in the background of the scene. The two other members M.C. Ren (Aldis Hodge) and DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) are first seen in a group scene at the R & B club where Dr. Dre D.J's at night. He shows Compton 1986 with police helicopters and stop and searches are regular occurrences. He displays the Rodney King beating and verdict a year later through the eyes of the band. Then Gray uses quiet moments to introduce future monsters in the industry Suge Knight, Snoop Dog and Tupac.
Jason Mitchell stands out in his portrayal of Easy E in the film. Easy E had the money to start Ruthless Record and get Studio time. He sang their first hit Boys in the Hood that attracted airplay and the attention of future manger Jerry Heller. O'Shea Jackson Jr. gives several looks in the film that remind you of his dad Ice Cube. He also displayed timely comedic barbs and powerful command of the stage when delivering a lyric. R. Marcos Taylor is a scary and unpredictable as the real Suge Knight in the film. Easily switching from smiling and helpful to violent, pit bull wielding, pistol- whipping goon the next.
Straight Outta Compton is a historical journey through lat 80's early 90's Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of 5 teenagers who grew up in the tough town of Compton. The film gives a full flavour of the time pulls no punches nor attempt to be balanced. The film portrays the World Most Dangerous Group featuring their in your face raw lyrics and bold rich beats. It's violent, intense, riving and emotional a film that I can definitely recommend.
*** Out of 4
Straight Outta Compton| F. Gary Gray | U.S.A. | 2015 | 147 Minutes.
Tags: Gangsta Rap , Compton, Late 80's, Early 90's, L.A. Riots, Ruthless Records, Priority Records, Lynch Mob, Death Row, Rodney King.