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8 Mile (DVD) Review - Articles Surfing
Undoubtedly, the surprise film of 2002 was 8 Mile, the story about a young white rapper in Detroit who struggles with his broken family, gold-digging friends, and simply to find his identity in the nefarious world in which he lives. Starring the best-selling rap artist Eminem, 8 Mile is supposedly autobiographical in nature, portraying the true life rise of Marshall Mathers from the hardened streets of Detroit to the gold paved highways of superstardom. But the film begins and ends in the ghetto, cataloguing the time prior to the rapper's success. As a movie, it performs its duties well - virtually transporting the viewer to the crime and poverty riddled neighborhoods of one of America's most dangerous cities.
Local youth Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr. harbors dreams of hitting the big-time as a rapper (along with most of his peers in Detroit), but few are supportive of his efforts, especially his mother Stephanie (Kim Basinger), a self-centered woman who neglects her five-year-old daughter, remains unemployed, and generally wastes her life away. Her verbal battles with Jimmy are the only substantive part of their relationship.
When Jimmy gets a job working on an assembly line at a sheet metal factory, he works long hours in the dead end job making just enough money to get by. Living in a trailer with his mother so that he can save up enough money for a demo tape leads to everyday confrontations with the woman. Things begin to look up, though, when Jimmy meets Alex (Brittany Murphy), an aspiring model who shares his dreams of leaving the ghetto and pursuing a better life. But everything goes awry when Jimmy chokes at a local late-night rap showdown.
The bad news continues when Jimmy catches Alex cheating on him, his mother kicks him out, and a gang of thugs gives him a beating - placing a gun to his head and threatening to pull the trigger.
When the opportunity arises to perform once more in the local rap showdown, all of Jimmy's dreams hinge on his ability to pull out all the stops. Can he verbally destroy his opponent and gain the notoriety necessary to put him on the map?
A surprisingly well-written screenplay wrought with symbolism, 8 Mile vividly portrays the life of an angry urban youth who aches to express his hatred for the world around him. As the dividing line between the city Detroit and the outside world, 8 Mile represents was is and what can be. The film's ability to draw the audience into a world of which they may not be a part makes this a definite must-see film. For those conservative or older viewers who may be reluctant to the see the film because of its leading star Eminem, I highly recommend giving 8 Mile a chance. If you enjoy drama and peering into unique worlds, then you might be pleasantly surprised with this one.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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