Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
8 Mile (2003)
15

With "8 Mile" Eminem cements his position as the noughties Madonna.

A new parent-worrying icon for disaffected youth, he already bosses pop music with his infectious rapping and controversial lyrics. Cinema is next.

Not that his celluloid bow is anywhere near as incendiary as the Daily Mail thinks his music is.

Rather, in the hands of "LA Confidential" director Curtis Hanson, it's a solidly built, rather old-fashioned yarn about a plucky underdog who triumphs in the face of adversity. Think "Rocky" with rapping.

The bouts in this setting are rap battles - in which rival rappers insult each other in turn, using the most imaginative and funny rhymes they can manage.

"8 Mile" opens with Jimmy "Rabbit" Smith (Eminem) freezing in his first such contest at the Shelter (where the Detroit-born star used to perform in real life).

Humiliated, he returns to the drudgery of his menial job and living with his trailer trash mom (Basinger - too glamorous for the role) next to the 8 Mile road, which separates the white suburbs from the largely black inner city.

The following week's battle could offer a chance of redemption - but will he take it?

Not hard to predict, obviously, but Eminem's semi-autobiographical drama at least manages not to embarrass its star or the audience (so the Madonna comparison ends here).

Scott Silver's script garnishes its clichés with effective social commentary. The former Marshall Mathers, meanwhile, is fine, if somewhat self-conscious, as he skulks about wearing his trademark look of wounded insolence.

The rapping is the real star. When Eminem takes centre stage, he's back in an arena he knows - and his charisma and remarkable linguistic dexterity make these profane, clever and funny scenes the best of the movie.

"Off the hizzies, no doubt, nomsayin?", as they say in Hertfordshire.

End Credits

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: Scott Silver

Stars: Eminem , Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Kim Basinger, Eugene Byrd, Omar Benson Miller, Taryn Manning

Genre: Drama

Length: 110 minutes

Cinema: 17 January 2003

Country: USA

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