Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, Neil Brown Jr, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge
Director: F Gary Gray
Energetic and powerful, this film tells the story of the hip hop group NWA, from their inception to huge fame, and on into their subsequent solo success. It’s a passionate film, with excellent performances from all the leads, who look uncannily like the people they are portraying, (and hopefully will go on to further career success, because they’re fascinating to watch).
Perhaps it’s because I like the music, grew up on it, or perhaps because this film feels like an underdog story, I found myself unable to look away. So few films make you care. Some entertain, a lot do not. But this movie feels like something else entirely. It’s big, melodramatic, but also feels real. The characters are often like big kids, they never had much and now they have a little too much, they don’t know what to do with it. They have moved out of Compton, but haven’t learned any new conflict resolution skills (which is part of why it’s so entertaining to watch, of course). You can take the man out of Compton but you can’t take Compton out of the man.
It feels empowering to watch them breaking new ground musically, and standing up to authority in a time that so badly needed someone to. But the story isn’t always rags to riches, happy endings, as some of you will probably already know. Sometimes the guys get cheated because they don’t know how the business works or they trust someone they shouldn’t. Sometimes having no limits has it’s own consequences. It’s a really interesting story, shot in an urban, gritty way, and should please fans and newcomers alike.
See It If: you like movies like 8 Mile or if you’re curious about what all the fuss is about. It’s something special.