Review: Straight Outta Compton

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August 23, 2015 - Culture

By Bert Jones, culture critic

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to see Straight Outta Compton for the first time. While the quality of the film can be debated, there is no doubt this movie will shock and surprise audiences from the opening credits to the finale.

When I walked into theater 4A, I was surprised that the audience was mostly white, and the average age appeared to be 70. This was surprising, but I didn’t read too much into it. Fascinating that a movie like this could attract such an audience!

Now onto the film itself. Straight Outta Compton stars Nina Hoss as Nelly, a concentration camp survivor who wants to find out if her ex-husband is responsible for her captivity. Following facial reconstructive surgery, she plays a game of duplicity as she tries to determine if her former lover betrayed her to the Nazis.

Though the drama was compelling, it left me with more questions than answers. Why would a movie about Compton take place entirely in Europe? Why are all the stars white? Why is there no rapping in the movie? It seemed like the movie, while good, was completely different than the advertisements suggested. The entire film I was expecting Snoop Dogg to roll up in a Benz and say, “Nelly, get that fine ass in the car and let’s take this shiznet back to Cali.” But it never happened. I’m pretty sure (unless somehow I missed him) that Snoop doesn’t show up in the movie at all.

That said, there are some fine performances in this film. Robert Zehrfield plays a coy and captivating Johnny, leaving us wondering until the very end what his true intentions are. Nina Kuzendorf also makes an appearance, playing her finest role since Woman in Gold. It is odd though that none of these actors were on the bill or appeared in any of the ads.

So to summarize, Straight Outta Compton is certainly not a bad movie. It has a compelling plot with realistic characters portrayed by an expert ensemble cast. But for a movie that bills itself as a coming of age story for young rappers in Los Angeles, it surprisingly lacked any of those themes or elements. No one in the film even mentions Compton, nonetheless actually travels there.

I give Straight Outta Compton a rating of 4.5/10. There was simply too much confusion to make it a quality film. If they had just advertised it more honestly it may have gotten a better review.

That’s all for now! Tune in next week for my review of Phoenix. 

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