Straight Outta Compton

Despite some unambivalent lionisation, this much-anticipated NWA biopic tells an undeniably powerful tale

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 14 Dec 2015
  • Straight Outta Compton
Film title: Straight Outta Compton
Director: F Gary Gray
Starring: O'Shea Jackson Jr, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti
Release date: 11 Jan
Certificate: 18

With Ice Cube and Dr Dre as producers, and Cube’s son cast in a starring role, it’s not really surprising that F Gary Gray’s NWA biopic is a fairly unambivalent lionisation of the group, unambiguously asserting their place in the musical and cultural history of America.

Straight Outta Compton essentially picks one narrative (NWA's heroic battle for black rights) and sticks to it, amplifying what it sees as the most important aspect of the group’s story at the expense of its other, less admirable aspects (like the undercurrent of misogyny that ran through many of their songs and exploded out into many of their private lives).

Putting the ethics of this kind of artistic licence aside, the story it chooses to tell is undeniably powerful, tapping into the angry energy of the band and the environment that formed them for a film that crackles with a barely repressed rage throughout. [Ross McIndoe]

Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Universal Pictures