Straight Outta Compton

As a young white woman born in the UK during 90's, it's difficult, nigh on impossible, for me to fully understand the life of a black man experiencing his early adulthood in 80's America. But the construction of Straight Outta Compton (directed by F. Gary Gray) - particularly the integration of all the member's personal contexts alongside the skills they each had to offer - enables even the most ignorant of viewers to empathise, sympathise and identify with the young rappers during their meteoric rise to infamy. The documentation of violent and gun related crime, the institutionalised prejudice attitudes towards certain groups of people, and the public consensus regarding the police anchors an element of social commentary to the outspoken biopic.

It is two and a half hours long. Some mammoth films like The Wolf of Wall Street don't feel as drawn out as they are because the pace is so erratic you're too buzzed to notice how numb your arse has become. Straight Outta Compton, however, is just drawn out. Sure, the humble beginnings of some of the most iconic figures in music history is relevant and gripping, but omitting the cliched, shoddy slo-mos (especially the cliched 'squad walk' rear shot, at a funeral of all places) could've cropped at least ten minutes off and the narrative tends to dart off in multiple directions before returning to the basic story.

On the other hand, the casting is perfect (O'Shea Jackson Jnr looks so much like his dad, I thought it was actually Ice Cube for a while), the brief cameos from TuPac and Snoop Dogg are a treat, and there's a brutally witty humour throughout that really compliments the group's collective intellect. I went into this film knowing two things: who Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are, and that they make hip-hop music. I'd never heard of Eazy-E, or N.W.A., or the latter's pivotal Straight Outta Compton debut studio album. I didn't come out of this film calling everyone 'motherfuckers' or speaking in expletive rhymes, but I did come out of it educated and more aware of the group's originality, and the staggering discriminatory hardship that followed them during the early stages of their careers in Southern LA before they hit the big time.

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