The use of four diverse characters causes the film to move at a quick pace, keeping the audience’s attention for a full 147 minutes. The combination of action sequences, compilation soundtrack, and character development keeps the audience on their toes wondering what will happen next. The soundtrack features music from Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 2Pac, individual members of NWA, and of course many other talented rap artists. While I found this music smooth and heartfelt, certain audiences may not enjoy it quite as much. Yet, you cannot argue that the group's music changed the nation.
The film shows some of the changes that the world was going through when N.W.A. was formed. One of the most powerful performances in the film is seen through Paul Giamatti’s character. While the members of N.W.A. are outside his studio, a squad of cop cars pulls up and the cops harass the rap group. The group’s manager Jerry (Paul Giamatti) comes out of the studio to argue that his clients cannot be harassed just because they are black. Scenes like this one reflect that the U.S. still has race issues. Seeing the Rodney King beating on the big screen brings out more emotion for the audience that can connect the beating to current use of police force against minorities.
The Bottom Line: Director F. Gary Gray creates a film that is strongly acted and builds a connection between the past and the present through images of violent events.