8 mile movie review, dvd, posters
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8 Mile
Eminem, Kim Bassinger

Directed by Curtis Hanson
Rated R for strong language, sexuality, some violence and drug use

** out of 4 Stars, Movie Grade: C
movie trailer

Released November 8, 2002

Running time: 111 minutes

by Kevin Lang

"8 Mile," starring rapper Eminem and directed by Curtis Hanson ("Wonder Boys," 2000), was a film that never really went much of anywhere, and even the ending, which was built up to be the climactic turning point of the film, failed to have much of an impact.

Eminem played Bunny Rabbit (a.k.a. Jimmy Smith, B-Rabbit, Rabbit). His mother called him Rabbit, so I'll go with that. The story surrounded Rabbit's struggle to rise above everything that he felt was holding him down. This included his longtime girlfriend, his job as a metal stamper, and living in a trailer with his mother (Kim Basinger) and her boyfriend, Luke (Michael Shannon). He knew that his one shot at getting out of urban Detroit would be to utilize his skills as a rapper. He had to fight his stage fright and fear of succeeding to eventually compete in a rap contest that his friend hosted.

If there was a moral to the story, it was that sometimes you have to do things on your own without relying on anyone but yourself. This is often true, but it is also true that you can't go through life on your own, and close yourself off to everyone else. Rabbit left his girlfriend, Janeane (Taryn Manning), for no other apparent reason other than to focus on getting out of Detroit. He met a new girl, Alex (Brittany Murphy), and we couldn't tell if she wanted him because she wanted to get out of Detroit as well, and she saw Rabbit as her ticket, or because she had genuine feelings for him. After those questionable feelings physically manifested themselves in a secluded area of the factory when she came to visit, Rabbit found her physically manifesting feelings for his supposed friend, Wink.

Rabbit came to trust no one but himself. He even thwarted the help of his close friend, David a.k.a Future (Mekhi Phifer), who pushed him to compete again in the rap competition, known as doing battle. So, what was the story trying to convey? Trust no one. You have to do things on your own. Maybe, and since the story was supposedly loosely based on Eminem's own life (he was born to a fifteen-year-old mother, his father left when he was six-months-old never to return, he spent his childhood being shuffled between Kansas City and Detroit) maybe this was how we were supposed to see it, as an autobiography.

Regardless, the film spun with a much weaker beat than he offers in his music, and although I left the theater knowing that it could have been worse (compared to other singer's who do films), I realized that there was potential for it to be much better. Eminem was not a horrible actor. He was just stuck in story that lacked substance, and failed to provided enough rhythm to bring his own music and story to the forefront.

"8 Mile" Review written November 6, 2002, CTF.

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