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8 Mile

By Joe MacLeod | Posted

A pleasant surprise. Notorious obnoxious hip-pop star Eminem steps up in class as Jimmy Smith Jr., aka super-unknown underground hip-hop freestyler Bunny Rabbit, in this gritty, grubby drama about a young man trying hard to do the right thing for himself, his career, and his trailer park-dwelling family. Director Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys, L.A. Confidential) makes the 118 minutes seem a bit long as we agonize through the depressing details of B. Rabbit's grimy Detroit existence with a loser mom (Kim Basinger) and a sketchy new girlfriend (Brittany Murphy), but it pays off convincingly in the end, along with a few (not enough) satisfying freestyle "battles." And hey, maybe this film will inspire the rest of America to take up a collection for Detroit and help them fix that place up a little. Good Lord.

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