Studio: Universal Pictures
Reviewed by: Ara Andonian
When a movie comes along where anticipation levels are sky high you hope and pray the hype is real. I've been a fan of N.W.A. since day one and when I heard they were making a biopic about the most notorious group in music, I was excited beyond belief…and a honestly, a little skeptical. F. Gary Gray (Friday) takes on the behemoth task of directing his vision of the true to life account of the rise and fall of Compton California's finest. The names Ice Cube and Dr. Dre alone are enough to sell seats and once you hear the iconic phrase: "You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge,” booming out of the theatre speakers, you know it's on. The opening scene plays out like a Scorsese film escalating exponentially and painting the picture of how life really is for these kids in the late ’80s and early ‘90s trying to earn their keep on the mean streets of CPT. The portrayal of Eazy E as the confident but conflicted leader, Ice Cube, the witty wordsmith, and Dre, the beat-blesser makes for the perfect one, two, three punch. The story of their come up and rolling into the music business is magic in motion. As memorable moments in history, and Hip-Hop lore, unravel in front of your eyes, it's hard to imagine what they went through on the road to making it in the age of censorship, government interference, and the blind eye of the law. Those who don't know the history might shake their heads at the authenticity of the film but most accounts are accurate. Ice Cube's real life son plays his pops on screen and it’s crazy how spot on he is. If Paul Giamatti doesn't earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as the despicably brilliant manager from hell, Jerry Heller, the Academy needs to be held accountable. Straight Outta Compton weaves you through a cornucopia of emotions, through overnight success to worldwide fame, internal strife and battles on wax, through to the rise and fall of Ruthless and Death Row Records culminating in the demise of the godfather of Gangsta Rap. For someone who lived it step by step through the music as it was happening, it was wild to see this story that needed to be told finally on the big screen. RIP Eazy. Hope you're sippin' on a 40 in Thugz Mansion.