North Texas Daily

The Dose: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ does biopics right

The Dose: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ does biopics right

The Dose: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ does biopics right
September 03
13:32 2015

Harrison Long | Editorial Writer


You’ve heard the music, now see how it all unfolded. Straight Outta Compton, one of the summer’s most high-profile and reflective films, is as much a call to action as it is a reflection upon the creation of a genre. The timeliness of the picture cannot be overstated. Many of the same battles being fought within the 147 minutes are as prevalent today as they were in the late 1980s.

What is so mesmerizing about the tale surrounding the origins of N.W.A. is not only the audience’s ability to frame the narrative from a perspective grounded in hindsight, but also to simultaneously follow along with the cultural earthquakes that led to the modern day rap culture.

Some may already be familiar with the story: five men within the confines of South Central Los Angeles in a time of severe racial tension, armed with only their intrinsic talent and storytelling ability. They eventually break through their respective glass ceilings into the mainstream. The film is about the group’s trials and persecutions, which lay foundation of their careers and serve as an examination of society as a whole.

The audience is allowed intimate views of the artists in N.W.A, all of whom are now household names. Going from the drug bust involving Eazy-E at the very beginning, Ice Cube’s near brush with the Crenshaw Gang while riding the bus, and Dre and Jinx’s gig at the club, the audience is initially given a feeling of hope that lasts only momentarily. Any expectations of a smooth ride, or a “leave-it-all-behind” narrative is shattered, as it becomes apparent that the true message behind the film’s portrayal of N.W.A.’s rise to fame is that one must maintain a sense of perseverance and loyalty in the face of adversity.

The significance of the film is more than a simple life lesson, or a refresher on individual morality. On the contrary, it is as much a reflection of the progress made, or not made, in terms of race relations and equality in the United States since the 1980’s. The aptness of the portrayal of the negative treatment endured by the group is biting and honest, and those watching the movie will most likely find it provocative and pertinent to many of the questions being raised today. It is as much a social statement as a biopic, and it is one that everyone should see. Four Stars.

Featured Image: Courtesy | Universal Studios

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