With all of the Suge Knight legal drama unfolding over the past year, it was easy to forget that he had a movie coming out. Now that Straight Outta Compton, the biopic that documents N.W.A.'s rise to fame, is about to hit theaters Friday, is it something that both rap fans and film fans should rush to see?
According to multiple critics at different outlets, this movie is slated to be one of the biggest hits of the year! Straight Outta Compton—which stars O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and more as the members of the original rap group—is getting nothing but rave reviews across the board.
Variety's Scott Foundas lauds director F. Gary Gray's work, writing that Compton is "timeless in its depiction of how artists and writers transform the world around them into angry, profane, vibrant and singular personal expression." Whether or not audiences are filled with rap fans won't matter, as Foundas notes that the movie "is a feast for hip-hop connoisseurs and novices alike as it charts the West Coast rap superstars' meteoric rise, fractious in-fighting and discovery that the music business can be as savage as the inner-city streets."
Katey Rich of Vanity Fair considers the movie Hollywood's "most significant response to the Black Lives Matter movement." She also praises the movie's ability to seamlessly transition from a humorous beginning to a more dramatic ending. "But, especially in its first half, it's also lively and frequently funny, reveling as much in N.W.A.'s ferocious onstage presence as the joshing in the studio that helped Eazy-E learn to rap," she writes.
"Becoming a superstar in your 20s is fun, and though history tells us the bad news is coming, Gray—and cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who captures some epic party scenes—lets us in on the joy."
Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com writes the "surprising biopic" will leave viewers feeling completely conflicted, in the best way possible. "It aims not only to raise your ire, but to also break your heart. It is as engaged with its well-executed action scenes as it is with its moments of tenderness and quiet. It is unrepentant in its anger and its amorality, leaving the audience to pass its own judgment and calibrate its own outrage," he writes. "The filmmakers have made a fiercely political movie that's an equally fierce 'talk back to the screen'-style crowd-pleaser for folks eager to hear the tale of an influential rap group."
The Hollywood Reporter notes that this biopic gives the proper credit to a group whose music is still relevant today. "But if the movie pushes most of the ugliest behavior off onto side players (like the notorious Suge Knight, played by R. Marcus Taylor), it does for the most part fulfill its mission, breathing life into the origin story of a group whose influence is still being felt," John DeFore writes.
"Straight Outta Compton is most successful at showing the human realities behind a kind of music that, as soon as it was exposed to the mainstream, gave rise to media caricatures and knee-jerk reactions from law-enforcement and conservative groups."
Cinema Blend singles out Jackson specifically in its praise, as he was given the daunting task of portraying his real-life father Ice Cube. "But for 24-year-old Jackson, making his acting debut in the film about the iconic rap group N.W.A., he not only rises to the challenge, he far exceeds expectations," writes Nick Romano. "It's his uncanny ability to embody his father, from his presence to his quirks, that gives the film its oomph."
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