Sunday, December 30, 2007
REVIEW: 8 Mile
Director: Curtis Hanson
Starring: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated R
I didn't know that Eminem was making a movie at the time of this release. I only heard about it when it was coming to DVD due to alot of advertising. The idea of Eminem in a movie made me laugh because hes a rapper, not an actor. Every time their is a movie with a singer or a rapper, it just ends up being pretty bad. So I already had my doubts about 8 Mile, but it still ended up being a huge hit. The film grossed an estimated $242 million worldwide on a budget of $42 million. Not only that, but the films reviews have been mostly positive. This just made me more eager to see it because I was very curious.
For Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem), Detroit has been rough for him. Jimmy has been forced to live with his dead beat mother, Stephanie (Kim Basinger) in a cramped trailer after a breakup with his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning). He works at a dead end job in a stamping factory making bumpers, a place where the money is little, but enough. He needs to escape the violence and desperation of a neighborhood built on dreams that always get broken. The only way he can do that is to gain respect in hip hop.
The story of 8 Mile is supposedly based loosely on rapper Eminem's life. It starts off slow, but gets more fascinating by the minute. Their are a few dull moments here and their, but the film has some great camera work. The plot doesn't sound original and it really isn't. We have heard of this story before with past titles, but that doesn't mean the story sucks. It basically tells the story of this person who has had a rough childhood, trying to make it to the top. I found the plot to fit the mood of the film and its pretty fun to watch Eminem rap on the big screen. The character that we have are fun and somewhat amusing to watch. Their are some scenes where the main character does tend to feel bad for himself and this does kind of happens alittle too much. I thought the ending didn't really provide a set of closure to this story. I think it could have been better and alittle more fleshed out. 8 Mile does have some entertaining scenes and this is usually when the main character Jimmy is rapping. It builds for some cool scenes where two guys exchange some heavy words that is surprisingly cool.
Eminem plays as the main character of the film, Jimmy. You wouldn't expect him to pull off a really convincing role in this film, but damn it, he does. I was really convinced that he was a man struggling to become a rapper. I honestly wasn't expecting much from him, but I left with a smile on my face. Brittany Murphy plays as Alex and she does a fairly good job in her role. I wouldn't call it her best performance, but she puts on a good show. She also shares some chemistry with Eminem that I thought worked pretty good. Kim Basinger plays the mother of Jimmy, Stephanie Smith. I kind of felt that she was somewhat misplaced here. I enjoyed her presence in the film, but I don't think she was the right choice to be playing this part. We also have Mekhi Phifer playing as David "Future" Porter. This is far from being Phifer's best performance, but he makes for a good friends next to Eminem.
The visual look of 8 Mile is pretty great. The film's source is in good shape so we don't get much in the way of film grain. Colors are somewhat muted with a harsh look to them. The city of Detroit is gritty and all washed up. Everything is either dark or grey. Black levels are strong and some of the darker scenes hold up nicely. This isn't a bad thing since all of this seems to fit the mood of the film. Flesh tones are spot on, but they aren't as warm as I would have expected. Detail is surprisingly great for the most part. Since we don't have much color in the film, the level of detail goes great with the black and grey colors. Close up shots show a good amount of clarity and facial detail.
The music in the film had to deliver since the main character of the film is known as a famous rap singer and damn does it deliver. Eminem is the main artist producing songs for this film, the music sounds great. Its the strongest aspect of the film. The films plot features many scenes where music is needed especially the battle rap scenes and they certainly do. Its nicely spread out and never gets in the way of things. Bass is very good and definitely something to watch out for. The film has many music that is loud and crude and yet the bass doesn't disappoint. It easily matches the music punch for punch with its rocking bass. Dynamics hold up well and is spread across all five channels.
8 Mile really surprised me since when I had my doubts. The film has an interesting, yet gritty story that is nicely paced and makes for some fun moments. I came into this film expecting another bad movie with an R&B artist, but I was really surprised to find a pretty good film. The cast is surprisingly good for the most part and Eminem never fails to disappoint me. The visual look of the film is dark and gritty with some good amount of detail. The soundtrack is bombastic and features some good bass work. 8 Mile is definitely worth checking out. I found the film to be enjoyable and pretty entertaining. Maybe you might feel the same.