I don’t know much about Eminem. I’ve heard his new album only once all the way through and thought it was fairly inspired, sometimes funny, and way too long.
However, I do know quite a bit about “8 Mile” director, Curtis Hanson. He’s one of the best directors working today, hot off of two classic recent movies, “L.A. Confidential” and “Wonderboys.” From what I understand, he’s really good with actors and I think in “8 Mile” it shows. Detroit natives convincingly filled out most of the minor roles. Eminem, in his first acting role ever, is also quite convincing.
And Hanson has led Kim Basinger to another fine performance as Em’s helpless and alcoholic mother.
He also knows how to tell a story, and although “8 Mile” is a lot like “Purple Rain,” it’s by turns more believable and not as clichéd. Credit Hanson’s attention to detail, setting the film in the pre-Tupac/Biggie-murders-world of 1995, with lots of bitterness and fighting. Also, credit Scott Silver’s script for not making Em’s character perfect. It’s still easy to root for him, and the climactic battle at the end of the movie is a real treat.
“8 Mile” is good, solid entertainment that leaves you feeling a bit like “Rocky” did (with little of the same aftertaste) as the final credits roll. Plus, it ends with that “Lose Yourself” song, which I just can’t get out of my damn head.