Biopic says ‘Bye, Felicia’ to police brutality, censorship

Bobby Shipman

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“Straight Outta Compton” hammers together coarse planks of raw human endeavor and inspiring retaliation to construct its proverbial soapbox, from which it beckons viewers to exercise their freedom of expression and question America’s state of racial injustice.

The biopic, directed by F. Gary Gary (“Friday,” “The Italian Job”), portrays the controversial hip-hop group NWA as its members push boundaries with their honest lyrics that depict the harsh southern Los Angeles streets in the mid-1980s.

O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell lead the cast as rap moguls Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and the late Easy-E. All three actors resonate with feral performances as young artists striving to make their mark while navigating the money-hungry waters of the music biz.

The group redefines hip-hop culture with revolutionary commentary on racially driven police brutality with lyrics like “Fuck the police” and visceral descriptions of their hard-knock upbringings. This incites federal government censorship attempts and the media’s negative portrayal of their so-called pro-violence message.

Though formulaic at times, “Straight Outta Compton” is fast-paced, funny and powerful. And, despite its abundance of boozy, flesh-filled poolside shindigs, the film doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

Intense and captivating, with an in-your-face realness, Compton continues to jab the viewer in the feels, without forgetting to exercise their diaphragms with sharp one-liners.

At its core, “Straight Outta Compton” is a lesson in the power of music, which was the most visually present affect off screen as the bulbous silhouettes of heads bobbed side-to-side and seats shook from rhythmic toe-tappings.

This lyrical biopic works on every level, but most importantly it tackles specific, socially-relevant topics through the lens of a true story and at a time when they are on everyone’s radar.

For anyone seeking a movie that captures the essence and importance of a cultural movement, put “Straight Outta Compton” on your cinematic playlist.

For everyone else, well, “Bye, Felicia.”