Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti, R. Marcos Taylor
Directed by F. Gary Gray
2015 / 147 Minutes / Universal Pictures
Straight Outta Compton is not a terrific biopic, but it’s certainly a good and thoroughly entertaining one. I was surprised at how little I really knew about NWA. I was young, but I do remember when they came out and how controversial their music was. I was intrigued by their story and came to really respect what they had accomplished with their music.
The film, although quite good, is riddled with problems. There’s a structure problem here and I found myself throughout the entire movie feeling like I was missing a lot. Apparently the original cut of the film was 3 hours and 30 minutes which I think explains why this version feels a little jumpy in it’s timeline. There were areas I wanted to know more about, granted I have no want to sit through that original cut, I do feel like some of the best stuff was probably left on the cutting room floor. There was an all over the place feeling going on, and I found myself wondering ‘okay where are we, how much time as passed, are they successful now’? I was taken out of the movie questioning those little things.
While the cast were all great, the standout for me was O’Shea Jackson Jr., playing his real life father Ice Cube. I thought his performance was fantastic and I found him to be the most interesting storyline. For a newcomer, first big performance, I thought he nailed it.
Side note: How many more movies is Paul Giamatti going to be in where he plays a shady music exec? I feel like he’s getting typecast in roles like this… see Love & Mercy.
Straight Outta Compton mostly succeeds and I am impressed. It’s definitely worth seeing. I wish that it had been even better, but I appreciated it and think it’s overall a good movie.