Straight Outta Compton: the NWA’s story. Dr. Dre, dosage Ice Cube and Eazy-E’s widow co-produced. You don’t have to be a rap music fan to enjoy this film. The story opens in 1986. We meet Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Cory Hawkins), and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.). Compton in the mid-80’s, was a violent place. The film opens in a drug house. By March 1987, the group had recorded its first single, “Boyz-N-The Hood”. The first hour of this 142 minute film focuses on how the group and the music got together, how the group performed and how it eventually broke apart. The dialogue is street language throughout. While MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) and DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.), the other two NWA members, are present and though other people float in and out, the film’s focus is primarily about the clash that developed between Eazy-Z and Ice Cube, both of whom recognized the importance of Dr. Dre to NWA.
The bad guy is NWA’s manager, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who is white and Jewish. Heller is presented as the person responsible for NWA’s split up. The film portrays Heller as ripping off NWA while still acknowledging his ability to get the group before an audience. The film is full of anti-Semitic comments, many of which are made by Ice Cube.
Giamatti may have earned himself another Oscar nomination. O’Shea Jackson, Ice Cube’s son, did an excellent job. The director, F. Gary Gray, deserves credit for keeping the film honest and connected to its historical roots. There are numerous party scenes, scantily clad females, disturbing scenes of violence, particularly those associated with Surge Knight. (Knight is currently under arrest for murder and any potential juror who has seen this film should be disqualified from serving on the jury.) This is a film worth seeing.
Steven Guttman, Esq.