February 6, 2016

Streets of Los Angeles

Straight Outta Compton (F Gary Gray, 2015). Music films usually start in bedrooms and garages and end in lawyers’ offices, but the arc in Straight Outta Compton is quicker and steeper than most: success came fast for NWA and so did the end, meaning that one film can take in the start, the glory days, the break-up and the possibility of a reunion without feeling rushed – events that usually take two decades are done in seven years. There is a sense of the self-flattering authorised version to this, with it acting as Dre and Ice Cube’s public reconciliation with the memory of Eazy E, who is the hot-headed Joe Pesci to their calmer De Niro and Liotta in what can seem at times like a hip-hop GoodFellas (it is a crime film as well as a music film, and not just the crimes committed by managers and record companies), but it has a contagious energy and claims that NWA were acting as reporters documenting life under police occupation in a racist culture are borne out.