Hip Hop Rocky
8 Mile
Review by Ross Anthony

For outsiders to hip hop (as I am), "8 Mile" opens an intimate window into the culture. Multi-platinum recording artist Eminem gives a sincere, heartfelt, genuine performance as Jimmy Smith (Rabbit) a white hip hopper in the tough, 8 Milemostly black neighborhoods of Detroit. Like Stallone's Rocky, the obstacles in Rabbit's daily life pack heavier punches than the competition in the ring. In this case, the ring is a rap battle in a hip-hop club.

Though the story and characters are fictional, Eminem, who grew up in Detroit says, "8 Mile separates the city from the suburbs. To grow up as a rapper, to grow up on the Detroit side as opposed to the suburban side gives you credibility. It's a big deal."

Dominated by stark urban decay, domestic violence, and random rivalry on the streets, Rabbit's small group of interesting friends hold their love for each other tighter than their fists. Their rich chemistry and Rabbit's internal struggles are the backbeat of the production.

Well acted (with only minor exceptions) and rock solid direction, the film doesn't concern itself with breaking out over the top into national fame, just with one man's challenge to reconcile his talents with his local surroundings. The tensions climax at the battle, where instead of boxing gloves, each rapper takes just 45 seconds and a microphone to best "diss" (insult), poetically/rhythmically speaking, the other.

  • 8 Mile. Copyright © 2002.
  • Starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning.
  • Directed by Curtis Hanson.
  • Screenplay by Scott Silver.
  • Produced by Brian Grazer, Curtis Hanson, Jimmy Iovine at Universal.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:22:17 PDT