HOT FLICKS: NWA emerges from mean streets of LA

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Straight Outta Compton in cinemas now.YOU don’t have to be an NWA fan to like Straight Outta Compton.
Nanjing Night Net

You don’t even have to follow rap or hip-hop, though it will mean more to you if you do.

It’s a well-made, well-acted movie that chronicles the historic rise and fall of late 1980s “reality rappers” NWA – Ice Cube, Dr Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella – from the mean streets of south Los Angeles to the top of the music world.

Directed by F Gary Gray, who directed Ice Cube in Friday, Straight Outta Compton is so much more than the hip-hop group’s history, tackling race issues, hatred of the police system and using music to make a political point.

The film’s final act is emotional, honest and raw.

It begins by introducing the three main players, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell), a small-time drug-dealer; Andre “Dr Dre” Young (Corey Hawkins), an unemployed young father with a talent for spinning discs; and O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson (played by his real-life lookalike son O’Shea Jackson Jr), teenage lyricist.

The group, funded by Eazy-E, decides to start their own label Ruthless Records, puts out an EP with their “gangsta rap” sound, making an impact on youth dealing with the same daily problems and general poor standard of living conditions which the artists are very familiar with.

They catch the eye of manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who promises to open doors and make their product “legit” in the music industry.

With costuming, fantastic casting and an incredible attention to detail, Straight Outta Compton has faithfully recreated a period of change in musical history.

Hawkins delivers a stand-out performance as Dr Dre, a character that doesn’t have the best lines or the verbal stoushes, but tells the story through his observation of those around him.

Dre’s eventual partnership with the volatile and downright unhinged Suge Knight – who in reality ran over a crew member during filming – brings a whole new level to Hawkins’ performance, and makes for the most suspenseful and unbelievable moments in the film.

Mitchell was the only member of the principal cast whose character is no longer alive and, as such, had the most pressure in accurately portraying Eazy-E – a task that he definitely met.

But it is watching Jackson portraying his own father that is the real highlight of Straight Outta Compton.

The young actor is the spitting image of Ice Cube and it is easy to forget that you’re not watching the man himself.

Straight Outta Compton is rated MA15+ and is in Hoyts cinemas now.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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