John Hanlon Reviews


Must-Read Reviews: “Straight Outta Compton”

Posted in: Must-Read Reviews  |  By: John Hanlon  |  August 18th, 2015
Straight Outta Compton Revised Poster

Every week, cheap we’re going to take a take a look at some of the must-read reviews of the week’s big theatrical releases. This past weekend, treat the big release everyone was talking about was F. Gary Gray’s new musical biopic Straight Outta Compton starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell.

Here are a few must-read reviews about the new drama.

Ava DuVernay, Selma director: “All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us. @FGaryGray captured it.” Check out the full review here.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: “But what stands is an amazement, an electrifying piece of hip-hop history that speaks urgently to right now.” Check out the full review here.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club: “Aside from these few flourishes of the outré and symbolically charged, there’s little to distinguish the movie from any number of overlong hit-by-hit music biopics of the nodding-approvingly-from-behind-a-mixing-console variety.” Check out the full review here.

Wesley Morris, “There’s no point of view — just the masculinized version of the generically entertaining bitchery you find on nighttime soaps. But should the story of five gangsta-rappers from Compton feel this much like Melrose Place?” Check out the full review here.

Scott Tobias, “Their story is too big for a single movie, but Gray’s high-gloss abridgment latches on powerfully to their hard-won independence and self-actualization, suggesting that true freedom is more difficult to achieve than success.” Check out the full review here.

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: “As enlightening as it is entertaining, as sobering as it is exhilarating, Straight Outta Compton reminds viewers not only who N.W.A. were and what they meant, but also why they mattered — and still do.” Check out the full review here.

Scott Foundas, “The movie has been made in high but never overindulgent style, with Matthew Libatique’s richly textured widescreen camerawork deliberately avoiding shopworn images of South Central life while evoking a vivid sense of place, and the editing of Billy Fox and Michael Tronick keeping the complex narrative moving smoothly from beat to beat.” Check out the full review here.

Odie Henderson, “Director F. Gary Gray treats Straight Outta Compton as an epic-sized take on approaching the American Dream from an askew angle that draws straight outta Compton and straight into capitalism.” Check out the full review here.

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Straight Outta Compton is a musically propulsive mixed blessing of a biopic, made the way these things often get made: with the real-life protagonists breathing down the movie’s neck to make sure nothing too harsh or unflattering gets in the way of the telling.” Check out the full review here.

David Edelstein , Straight Outta Compton is among the most potent rags-to-riches showbiz movies ever made. It’s not the music itself that puts the film over, although hard-core bangers like “Fuck tha Police” still trigger both your exultation and fight-or-flight response. It’s the density of detail — along with jagged, hand-held camerawork that evokes a war zone — that renders the trauma universal.” Check out the full review here.

If you want to read our perspective on the film, click here for our review.