Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Straight Outta ... Well you already know

     Finally, ya girl Kearmonie took that trip to the movie theaters to see the latest Critically acclaimed BioPic "Straight Outta Compton". Telling the story of one of the most impactful Rap groups of all time, Titled after their iconic debut album, and having dominated the box offices 4 weeks in a row S.O.C. is a must see.

     The film opening up with soundbites of scattered radio commentary and song lyrics we meet, who I personally declare as our protagonist, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, introducing us to the lifestyle he led before "blowing up". We then meet Dr. Dre and then Ice Cube through their run-ins with gang violence, police brutality and trouble at home for a simple yet effective opening sequence.

     What is revealed in those moments could have been a half-hour to 45 minutes long, as this film comes across rather rushed. You blink once and next thing you know they are on a national tour. Granted, most films are only 120 minutes long, the run time of this one being 150 minutes(2 1/2 hours), yet this film was more of a timeline, a re-telling of a lot of information fans of Hip-Hop especially those who were alive and experiencing the culture during the era in question(unlike myself) already know, and still remember vividly.

     A lot of subject matter is danced around, such as Eazy-E's promiscuity, infidelity, and all of his children. Not one of his kids a depicted in the film, or so much as mentioned; nor are the mothers of his children or other women he was seriously involved with during the height of his career. His involvement with multiple women is snarkily hinted at but not ever shown. It is hard to believe he was infected with HIV by being with one woman during the entire time. Also regarding Eazy-E, his departure from NWA(followed by a solo diss track or two) is not depicted; maybe a minuscule bit of information, but the truth is never obsolete. What else is cleverly left out is Dr. Dre's assault changes, and most importantly the woman he reportedly assaulted, who was not only his girlfriend but also an artist signed to his label who's music Dre had produced the majority of. We are given a glimpse into the life of Dr. Dre, the depiction of his career could arguably be more necessary for this film than his personal life, but the way the two have overlapped is not shown. Going back to before the fame, we do not learn how these brothas got their names or how they even fell in love with hip-hop music, we meet Dre as he is already a well known underground DJ, not how he got the name Dr. Dre or how he became established; and Cube is already an MC involved with another group.

    Enough of the negativity though, this film is beautiful. The colors, the lights, the sound, the close-ups. The depiction of the rawness and severity of what these men went through just by being young, black men, in the hood; and all that fueled their music was remarkably illustrated. This film did it's job in playing up the drama the way film and television seems to be doing these days, giving the viewer what they want, in the most cinematic way possible. What I personally felt was overdone, is the interweaving of the Rodney King incident/trial. I feel that was an obvious element used, not just to tell what year/era we're in, but to amplify all that N.W.A. stands for and the fact that the fight is not over. This is not to say that the members of the group were not greatly effected by the case and the riots that followed, but the use of it all does not add to the film, nor take away from it, its just there.

     Straight Outta Compton, is an intense look back on one of the most iconic and influential rap groups of all time. Despite feeling as if this film failed to inform me on anything that I did not already know, I was impressed, and I teared up about twice... well maybe three times.

     Oh, and one more thing that I cannot overlook, The man I am declaring as the lead actor, having portrayed who I have already declared or protagonist, Jason Mitchell(Eazy-E). That man was incredibly charming, funny, and an incredible actor. Mister O'shea Jackson, the young man who portrayed Ice Cube and who just so happens to be Ice Cube's son, got Top Billing(his name is the first to pop up in the credits and while searching the film online) but we'll see how that all changes when award season comes around. #NoShade


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