8 Mile
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Eminem proves himself on the big screen with this extremely well-made film loosely based on his own life in innercity Detroit. He plays Rabbit, a guy who roams the streets with his friends (Phifer, Miller, Wilson and Jones), mostly looking for trouble. Everyone is trying to get him to participate in the weekly rap competition, but his nerves won't let him get on stage. He's living with his loser of a mother (Basinger), her even worse boyfriend (Shannon) and his little sister (Greenfield), working in a grim factory and struggling to keep away from both his ex (Manning) and the rival gang. But he has a real talent for rapping, and eventually his pals and a new girlfriend (Murphy) encourage him to take centre stage.

Intriguingly, this is no rags-to-riches story. Nor is it "boy from the hood makes good!" It's instead a quietly personal story about finding the inner courage to go after your dreams. Hanson films it like a very big-budget indie--gritty and edgy, bristling with real life and natural rhythms, and most of all keeping everything small and finely focused. At times it feels like a rap musical, as the songs and the dialog overlap and intermingle. In this framework, Eminem's talent shines. He's a very good actor, grabbing the screen and never letting go, allowing us inside him and making the character a compelling, fascinating person. The story's considerable tension builds because of him and him alone--his relationship with his mother, his new girl, his rivals, his boss, all of this draws us in and helps us identify with him. It's a terrific film debut, although it leaves unanswered the question of his range or versatility. Meanwhile, Basinger delivers a very strong supporting turn, as does Phifer. This focus on the people, not the spectacle, makes it a very involving film indeed-- raw and honest, passionate and energetic.

cert 15 adult themes and situations, language, violence 15.Nov.02 lff

dir Curtis Hanson
scr Scott Silver
with Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, De'Angelo Wilson, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning, Michael Shannon, Chloe Greenfield, Anthony Mackie
release US 8.Nov.02; UK 17.Jan.03
Universal
02/US 1h51

Mama, I never meant to hurt you. Rabbit and his mother just try to get along (Basinger and Eminem)...

LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

eminem basinger phifer

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send your review to Shadows... find your voice "This is the best movie I have seen in ages. It's absolutely brilliant! And Eminem - woar, he looks stunning (well he always does, but that ain't the point)! I have seen it at the cinema like 6 times! I say it's a five-star film, 10 out of 10. I hope there is a second one." --Ashley, Fettercairn/Brechin 25.Feb.03
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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