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8 Mile (2002)

If you only get one shot, one opportunity; would you capture it – or just let it slip?

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 106 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Eminem stars as B-Rabbit, an aspiring rapper from the wrong side of Detroit's 8 Mile, whose ambition is to secure a recording deal. B-Rabbit has many problems to deal with. He dumps his girlfriend when she tells him she's pregnant, and moves back into the trailer where his alcoholic mother lives with her rather unpleasant boyfriend. He takes a dead-end job, trying to save enough money to make a demo tape, but the rapping isn't going well – he chokes in a local rap battle, making himself easy prey for the other rappers.

His life starts to look up when he meets an aspiring model called Alex (Brittany Murphy), who takes an interest in him. Then his shifty friend Wink (Eugene Byrd) tells him that he can arrange to cut a demo for free – but Wink has made boasts before and they haven't always been true. However, the upturn could never last – he catches Alex being unfaithful with Wink, then he gets into a titanic battle with his mother's boyfriend and is thrown out. Tensions even start to arise within his close group of friends. More isolated than ever, he is severely beaten up by some of his rap rivals. His only goal now is to win the next rap battle and chase his future, but it will not be easy after his previous failure.

This film in many ways contains nothing new. It is the well-worn story of a kid from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make good. The success of “8 Mile” however is less in its originality and more in its execution. The story is tightly woven and the characters are given many layers of depth, especially that of B-Rabbit. The film features Eminem in his first major screen role, and a fine job he makes of it too – this is no pop star vehicle but a gritty urban drama of some merit. The quality of the rap stands out, even to the uneducated ear, and those who have no knowledge of the rap scene will find that by the end they have gained an understanding of why rappers are so driven by what they do and why rap is so important to them. If this movie has a failing, it is that it doesn't always explore the more dangerous areas of the genre – racism, violence, social class and so on. However, overall it is an inspiring movie without too many delusions of grandeur.

Also features a cameo appearance from acclaimed rapper Xzibit.

It's Got: Rap battles that will grip even those unfamiliar with the music style.

It Needs: To get out of the "safe zone" and push the envelope a little.

DVD Extras The freestyle battles are fascinating. Extras: Making of, Detroit MCs vs. Eminem freestyle battles, Music of 8 Mile, Theatrical trailer. Music Video: "Superman" by Eminem. DVD-ROM Extras: Total Axess DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


Fine tension-filled coming-of-age drama with Eminem turning in a commendable performance in his first major role. This film will even appeal to many who have no knowledge of or interest in the rap lifestyle.