8 mile is a film based in Detroit about the underground rap scene and the 313 (Detroit area code). It follows B Rabbit (played by Eminem) and his life through the movie. It shows his hardships and triumphs as he makes his way out of debt, family problem, and gang affiliations. Although this movie is rated R16, I still thoroughly enjoyed it as I am very interested in rap culture. In this review I will be assessing three main aspects of this movie that I found held a lot of significance in the storyline of the film.
“Sometimes it’s hard enough just dealing with real life, but i’m still white, sometimes I just hate life.” This quote was taken from B Rabbit, the main protagonist in this film. Being a white rapper it’s hard for him to find respect in an African-american ruled area. In this film we see many different characters that each individually contribute to the film story line. The term ‘8 mile’ is a term used by the people of Detroit and it is not just a physical entity, but a symbol of a boundary. If one crosses this boundary, it means they’ve made it. 8 mile is the threshold of success that B-Rabbit is desperately trying to attain. In this movie we meet B-Rabbits close friends: Future, the host of the underground rap competitions and battles, and Rabbits mentor. In the movie he is portrayed as a very relaxed character, that is until he gets into fights. He values friendship and often can be seen as a second leader of his and Rabbit’s close friend group. Cheddar Bob, a very close friend to Rabbit. He has slight retardation as he finds it hard to understand situations and
throughout the movie makes bad decisions that has bad effects. He finds Rabbit as a mentor and a guide through his life. Rabbit gives him comfort and they have a strong bond between them. Poppa Doc, the main antagonist and leader of ‘The Free World’. The Free World is a notorious gang in this movie. Although the origins of the gang are unknown we can see them throughout the movie giving Rabbit distress. There is a strong hatred between The Free World and the 313. Our last main character worth mentioning is Rabbits mom Stephanie Smith. In this movie we also follow Stephanie’s troubles as she struggles through rent problems, anger issues, and a toxic boyfriend named Greg Bhuel. She is not the best at handling stressful situations as she argues a lot with Rabbit.
There are many more characters that I could have mentioned but I simply cannot fit all of them into one essay. In this film, none of the main characters are left without a backstory. I found it very interesting and intriguing how many characters get introduced in just nearly 2 hours of screening time.
Setting plays a big role in this movie. The Detroit scene is very unique and how its portrayed in the film is very interesting. Although we do not see the proper city of Detroit we get introduced to the trailer parks. In the opening scene we see the rundown shelter used to host the rap competitions (as mentioned above). From this it gives the rest of the movie a grimey/rundown feel. At no point in the movie do we see mansions or marble cottages. All the buildings we see are apartments, trailers, or abandoned houses. With this common appearance of these homes, we can see that everybody is in close proximity with each other in that everybody knows each other. In this area there is very poor law enforcement, giving the region a crimey vibe.
The story line of this film is very unique in that it seems like a documentary of Eminem’s early life, and some might even say it is. We see many main events that lead up to a triumphant ending. From some scenes we can see what it was like in Rabbits household. With his young daughter and mom it leads to some arguments but in the end they sort it out. With everything that Rabbit overcomes it makes the ending that much more satisfying. My favorite parts were the ending rap battles. I felt that they really tied the movie together as rap music is a underlying theme throughout the movie. One thing that I didn’t personally like about the movie was the emotions of B-Rabbit. Although Eminem had to be in the film, I felt that he could have taken more drama classes. This is because some scenes I could feel his emotions but then the next scene I couldn’t understand what he was feeling at all which was confusing.
Overall, I would rate this movie a 7.5/10. Maybe I am being biased because I really enjoy rap culture, but I feel that most people can enjoy this movie. The movie is very unpredictable but has a very satisfying ending. I recommend this movie to people who, like me, enjoy rap culture and Eminem.