Run time: 144 mins

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr, Aldis Hodge, Paul Giamatti

Synopsis: In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country.  When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation.


The story of legendary rap group N.W.A. comes to the big screen. In 1987, in a dangerous and volatile period of US history five young men began a hip-hop group that would go on to change musical history. Together, N.W.A. became one of the most controversial bands of all time, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats that reflected the frustration and anger about being young and black in 1980s America.

This biopic tells the true story of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella and how they, through their music, stood up against the authorities that tried to shut them down. Produced by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, Straight Outta Compton is an account of what was once considered the world’s most dangerous group. It chronicles the band’s history, from its inception, to growing success and stardom and finally its fiery end.

Directed by F. Gary Gray [The Italian Job (2003), Law Abiding Citizen (2009), Friday (1995)]  this film has Ice Cube played by his uncannily alike, son O’Shea Jackson Jr, Dr Dre by Corey Hawkins, Easy-E by Jason Mitchell, DJ Yella by Neil Brown Jr and MC Ren by Aldis Hodge.  Paul Giamatti plays their initial Jewish backer, Jerry Heller.

The film starts dramatically with drug deals, sirens and flying bullets.  Police harassment is a theme from the beginning and major events like the beating of Rodney King by the LAPD in 1991 are showcased. However the film doesn’t really address the contemporary cocaine use or challenge the misogynistic and anti-semitic environment.  It does show the chaotic, internecine battles, the socio-political context and the way that N.W.A changed the face of modern music and tackled freedom of speech.  With Ferguson, Missouri not so far away, these issues still have relevance today.

Listen out for a fantastic soundtrack of old skool hip-hop tunes, including N.W.A. hits Express Yourself and F**k Tha Police from the eponymous album which featured a ‘Parental Advisory explicit content’ which is also pastiched on the film poster.

In the end titles we are told that Dr Dre’s Apple deal for his Beats headphones in 2014 was for $3 billion (£1.8 million)


Images courtesy of Universal Pictures

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