starring O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti
screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff
directed by F. Gary Gray
by Walter Chaw Exhilarating until it turns into a "Behind the Music" special, F. Gary Gray's N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton (hereafter Compton) is most affecting for just how timely are its self-aggrandizing tales of police brutality and racial profiling. Amid a sequence that reprises the Rodney King tape, it occurred to me that we're talking about something that happened almost 25 years ago; all we've done in the time intervening is lengthen the list of martyrs and sites of atrocity. Progress that a movie that deals as directly as Compton does with race and the police exists in any form, I guess, but it's cold comfort in the face of what feels like a treadmill built on a Moebius strip. Call it a national farce and a tragedy that what is obviously an auto-mythology plays so much like objective, sober documentary and evening newscast. God bless America.