Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer
Director: Curtis Hanson
Running Time: 110 mins
8 Mile is an American film about a young white rapper in Detroit trying to break through onto the hip-hop scene, however he feels restricted due to the black domination of the genre that intimidates him to escape his boring life.
Now, for something who knows absolutely nothing about rap/hip-hop, let alone knowing which genre Eminem actually does, it was a huge surprise to me how much I enjoyed this film. It’s very atmospheric, with a gritty realism to it that doesn’t make it feel too much like a cheesy ‘get knocked down but get back up again’ sort of story, whilst there’s actually quite a good soundtrack and central performance by the rapper Eminem.
The main thing about this film is that it’s got a pretty generic story: a young man down on his luck looking to break through to the big time, so you’d expect something pretty predictable here. However, the plot and atmosphere created in this film is so gritty that it creates a perfect sense of realism that brings everything back down to earth to make it a lot less cheesy and seem as if this man’s rise to stardom actually matters and means something for his life.
What also helps your interest in the story is the fact that the main character, which is effectively a semi-autobiographical depiction of Eminem himself, is very likeable, his development in the story is realistic and believable, and his talent is actually one that fits in with the setting and really does feel realistic, and this all meant that I actually cared for and supported our main man throughout the story, which is very rare in this sort of genre.
The soundtrack to this film is also excellent. Again, I’m not a fan of this hip-hoppy/rap genre in the slightest, but I actually enjoyed the backing track to this film, which all comes together in the brilliant ‘Lose Yourself’, whilst the rap battles throughout were not only just cool to watch, but were also interesting and at points pretty exciting to be engrossed in.
Overall, this gets a 7.5 from me, due to its excellent writing which creates some fantastic realism, as well as strong characterisation and a good central performance and soundtrack by Eminem.