Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
8 Mile tells the story of a white kid on the wrong side of the tracks living in Detroit with a dead end job and a trailer park mom. Deep inside, he aspires to break free from the chains of the reality of his life through the poetry and passion and rawness of rap; the one place he can possibly gain a feeling of purpose and hear his own voice. Obviously, it's no big secret that this storyline runs very parallel to that of of Eminem's own roots and his own aspirations. Where fiction and reality collide is blurred and that works for the picture. First off, I think Curtis Hanson did a great job rebuilding that world and protecting his novice lead. He understood the material and I was drawn in to the world that he recreated. Also, the cinematography widely lends itself towards upping the ante of the picture and making you feel the authenticity of a world and a place where many of us have never traveled nor never will. As for Eminem himself, at first I found him a little stoic, but given the fact that this guy has never acted before, regardless of how 'autobiographical' the material may be, I thought he did a decent job in front of the camera. Hanson was wise to protect his lead with awesome supporting work from Mekhi Phifer and pretty much everyone else that portrays his friends and peers in the film. Eminem obviously was a little green and surrounding him with these actors gave the movie and Eminem's journey more credence. Brittany Murphy was also very good, but I found her character to be a bit expedient. She definitely was not used to her full potential and I felt that if they had used her relationship with Rabbit to a larger or deeper extent, it only would have lent more to the film. One of the scenes I was most impressed with was the sex scene between Murphy and Eminem. Gone were the Hollywood antics of glossing it up or ghetto fabulous and I felt that Hanson captured something that was fascinating, uncomfortable and realistic that I haven't seen in a Hollywood film before.
Now for what I feel made this movie not rise to the top... First off, when Kim Basinger first came on the screen and opened her mouth, I thought the rest of the film was going to be destined for failure. Not only was she weak in the role, she was grossly miscast. There are so many actresses in that age range that I find it mind boggling that Basinger was used for something in which she stood out like a fish out of water. The film also almost lost me in the beginning due to the length of the first scene in the bathroom when Eminem is psyching himself up. The placement of the scene wasn't a problem but it went on way too long - I would have prepared an edited down version. If you're watching Robert DeNiro for that long looking in a mirror, yes, it'll probably work, but to put that type of pressure on a first timer with no training, especially since it's shortly followed by Basinger's first scene was a risky move and one that I think they could have found a better choice for. The other thing that kept this film from being a totally strong film for me was the screenplay itself. I kept finding myself asking why the hell Scott Silver had some of these extraneous scenes in the story. There was a good story to be told here and a whole world to be explored by the general public that doesn't know that much of it, and the script and film could have and should have been a good 25 minutes shorter and tighter.
Anyway, still an intriguing film. And interesting insight into a different side of life and I commend Eminem for taking the risk. It's a lot to bite off and half the country is just dying for a chance to decimate him. If for nothing else, this film is worth the last 5 minutes. When he was up there battling, I actually started clapping and cheering out loud in the theater - no matter where he stands as an actor, when he's in his domain, he is fantastic, whether you like what he's saying or not.
A 7 out of 10 for a movie that was actually worth spending a budget on. Not perfect, but definitely it's own thing with some good moments. And when they're good, they're really good.
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