8 Mile

"Find Your Voice"

A young struggling lower class white boy in the predominantly Afro-American '313' area code of Detroit fights to raise himself out of poverty. He is set apart by his strong talent for piecing together clever lyrics in freestyle raps that dominate the local youth culture. Can this young muscian fight obscurity to realize his dreams or is he destined for the continuing poverty that plagues his family and peers?

Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Scott Silver
Produced by : Imagine Entertainment
Running Time : 111 min
MPAA Rating : R
Opening Weekend Revenue : $54 million.

Cast:


Review

This fantastic movie about a neglected people and era conveys the mentality that helps join generations. The music is groundbreaking and constantly fun to listen to. If it weren't for a few plot mistakes that generated mixed reviews, this movie might have been the best of the year.

The Good
The rapping is excellent. I listen to primarily rap and hip-hop and the movie provided more than I expected of some fantastic free-styling. The lyrics were probably scripted since everyone who opened their mouth dropped serious bombs, nobody ever stuttered or missed a beat. Despite this the entire movie was extremely pleasant to listen to. The many freestyle workings didn't come from the soundtrack, but were new songs that will come out on a new separate soundtrack. During the movie we hear a couple re-workings of the popular "Lose Yourself" that match exactly.

The acting is also phenomenal. Maybe Eminem didn't have to step too far out of character to portray a poor whiteboy from Detroit, but he did it well regardless. The rest of the cast fits just as well with his friends inspiring a comaraderie we all feel a part of 15 minutes into the movie.

The Bad
This movie seems to have been cut down from a great script. There are several hints of more to come and deeper relationships with the main characters but the movie ends with many questions standing and many threads unraveled. This may be intentional and work to convey some deeper theme, however on a basic level they detract from the movie.

Rabbit's Ex Girlfriend plays a minor, yet reoccurring role. He mentions her at the beginning of the movie, and frankly that should have been all that we saw of her. Instead she makes a brief meaningless appearance in the middle of the movie, and then towards the end we see her again. We never find out why he left her, what will come of them, or if he wants to try and get her back.

Brittany's character is unstable and not well thought out. At first she seems devoted and crazy about Eminem. She teases him and seems to be a flirt only to have a graphic quicky in the back of the factory. She then cheats on him for apparently no reason followed by a last show of devotion and admiration at the end of the movie when we already know she is leaving for New York.

The movie ends with the audience expecting more. 2 minutes before the closing scene I was thinking "This sure is a long movie but I am looking forward to the last hour." We don't know what happens with any of the characters and in the end they are all positioned exactly where they were at the beginning. There have been some minor inconsequential changes, but other than those not much happens. A lot could happen, the tables are set for action, but the movie cuts off when things look just to be getting interesting.

Overall, 8 mile is a great movie that I would recommend to anyone in general but specifically any teens or people into the Rap/Hip Hop scene, although it could have been an even better movie without a couple plot difficulties.


Eminem played a huge role in the marketing and success of this movie. Opening weekend, Nov 8th 2002, grossed over $54 million. Eminem justly uses this movie as a public venue. He knows that his personality - which is frequently under attack in the public - is now on trial. The movie has been called a pseudo-biography because Rabbit is a struggling rapper from Detroit like Eminem was. Because of this, we often get to see the "sweeter" side of Eminem in 8 mile. He constantly has concern for his 8 year old sister who is easily associated with his daughter in real life. We also see him take the local idiot, cheddar, under his wing. Of course, Eminem cannot be made to seem weak so he initiates two seperate fights against the rival rappers in his movie. I'm not saying he used the movie to sell more records, just that he was aware of how his image was presented in the movie.

Eminem has been accused of "gay bashing" or discriminating in his music by the frequent use of the word "faggot". In real-life he said that "faggot" was a derogatory word that does not necessarily mean homosexual. When a co-worker in the movie makes fun of an openly gay person, Rabit (Eminem) defends the homosexual in a freestyle rap, and even says that "he may be gay, but your the faggot." A nice bit of propaganda.


Themes

There are three main themes in 8 mile that I noticed.
  • Class Issues : These three themes all tie together oppression of people. In the movie the poor Detroit working class suffers from bad jobs, a bad community, and a government that isn't interested in their well being. The rappers who were raised in a higher class are despised by the lower class not only out of their easier life, but out of their lack of loyalty and comaraderie. The difficulties growing up poor are emphasized. Eminem is initially embarrased about his lower class lifestyle but in the end he reveals this to his audience and they can associate with him and love him for it.
  • Independence : Everyone in this movie seems to eventually profit from their independence. The theme almost comes off the wrong way as "don't rely on help from others". The true message, however, tells you to follow your dreams and you can do whatever is in your heart. You don't need to rely on anyone to get you where you are going.
  • Escaping Boundaries : Everyone is trying to get something together in this movie. The entire movie is filled with people constrained by their surroundings. Money, jobs, and reputation are desired by everyone in various amounts. Nobody seems to quite escape during the movie, but many people come close. Nobody seems to be happy where they are, for better or worse.
"You can do anything you set your mind to, man." -Eminem
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