8 Mile (2002)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Exclusive Rap Battles
Featurette-The Music of 8 Mile
Trailer-2 Fast 2 Furious; The Hulk
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (65:48)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Curtis Hanson|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Loser Yourself during end credits|
Imagine you've been ditched by your girlfriend (she's told you she's pregnant), you've lost your job, your mum's banging one of your old schoolmates and your car won't start - just some of the many trials borne by James Smith Jr. aka Jimmy Rabbit. 8 Mile marks Eminem's acting debut in this Curtis Hanson directed movie. Also responsible for LA Confidential and Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Hanson certainly knows how to hone an emotional edge to his films. Set in Detroit, the film charts the frustrations of Jimmy Rabbit, Rabbit because he's fast and likes to f**k a lot. It's a fairly generic tale of gangland goings-on where the dream of fame and breaking out of the ghetto keeps hope alive (vis-a-vis Saturday Night Fever, Quadrophenia or even Rocky). The quirk in this tale is that B Rabbit is a white rapper in a black man's world and has to compete and respond to the racial diss that this entails.
The film opens at a 'rap battle' at the The Shelter club where compere and friend Future (played by Mekhi Pfifer in an excellent support role) builds up 'Bunny Rabbit' to compete with L'il Tic, rival rapper of the Free World rap gang. Supported by Future and his 'brothers' from the 3-1-3 gang, Rabbit prepares for battle by heaving his guts out, locked in washrooms that you would rather not see than visit. After 'choking' with stage fright, Rabbit gets booed off the stage with contempt by the crowd of blacks and 'spics. The film then follows the following week until the mother of all rap battles takes place against the champion 'Papa-Doc' of Free World. Along the way, tramp-love interest Alex (played by sexy Brittany Murphy), the brothers and Kim Bassinger as Rabbit's trailer park mama all put in fine performances played against the backdrop of a bleak, run-down Detroit and the New Detroit Stamping Foundry. The film gets its name after the 8 mile Road, so named because it is 8 miles out from the town centre and marks the boundary between the run-down ghettos of downtown and more upmarket suburbs populated by white trailer trash and the more salubrious areas and casinos.
The plot is hardly complicated or involved, but what makes the film for me is its credibility and insight into an area of life where none of us likely want to or are able to go. There's plenty of sideline activity away from Eminem, whether it's the beautifully timed, plain dumb antics of 'spic Cheddar Bob, the home spun philosophy of DJ Iz or the wide-eyed innocence of Rabbit's little sister Lilly (played by the 3 year old Chloe Greenfield). There's no time to get bored and one can only marvel at the mental and linguistic agility of the rappers, many of whom are genuine. The story also parallels the life of Eminem who rapped, as the story goes, from the age of 4 and entered the Rap Olympics in Los Angeles in 1997 desperate to win the $1500 prize (he came 2nd!). What of Eminem? Well, aside from his obvious virtuosity as a rapper, this 'dawg' is one natural actor with a stage presence and smouldering intensity that is impossible to ignore - somewhat reminiscent of Russell Crowe, whose big break also came in a Kim Bassinger film directed by Hanson. I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in a few years again at the Academy Awards picking up another Oscar, this time for acting. The film is beautifully crafted and builds up to a worthy finale.
For those concerned about the language - yep, there's every manner of sexual innuendo but I didn't find it offensive in this context - I just had to remember to moderate the jive when taking a trip to the local 7/11. There's a modicum of violence, but much less so than in many blockbusters of today, and the sex scenes managed to convey the message without being needlessly voyeuristic or explicit. When I expressed concern to my 9 year old niece that she had seen the movie she replied "sure - it's just like at home" (!).
What's the message? I'm not sure if there is one but if there is, it's probably something along the lines of "You don't know me - so don't judge me" - an apt comment for the vocal moral minority who tried to interfere with Eminem's tour of Australia a couple of years ago.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The film is suitably detailed and sharp, but the main effect of economy of bitrate is in the shadow detailing which is frequently severely limited in the many dark segments of the film. I don't think this necessarily detracts from the atmosphere of the film, which is often smouldering dark and moody - I wasn't particularly bothered about missing out on the detail of the toilet bowl when Rabbit had his head stuck down it!
Colours were often tinged with a green-blue wash of strip lighting or else muted by the night time shots or the bleak autumnal landscape of inner-city Detroit, but rose to the occasion suitably in the night-time fire scene or Chinese club.
Encoding artefacts were very few and far between. There is very occasional aliasing, such as on the louvre at 14:31 or on the door at 19:08 and a mild degree of posterization on Alex's forehead at 40:19.
The subtitles in English were really useful to catch the detail of the rap and dialogue. These were reasonably accurate to the spoken word but were displayed in a crude bit-mapped font complete with the jaggies. They were also available in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Hebrew.
The disc is of the RSDL variety with the transition point noticeable but not intrusive at 65:48.
The dialogue was encoded well and clear although the local rap could make deciphering different to those not used to the Afro-Caribbean accent. Audio sync of speech and effects appeared on cue.
Most of the music belonged to contemporary rap and hip-hop artists and probably only 25% is by the feature artist - which is worth taking note of if you go out to buy the music CD of the film. Anyway, it is superbly encoded and even some of the noise and crackle from the turntable of the hip-hop DJ comes over clearly but not obtrusively. I'm not an expert on this genre, so it really would be a waste of time me commenting on the artists, except to say that I was highly entertained by the rap version of the redneck classic 'Sweet Home Alabama". Of course, the whole film features snippets of the fabulous Lose Yourself and we are treated to the full version during the closing credits.
The surrounds were used to excellent effect for atmosphere by way of sound effects, sirens wailing, toilet doors being bashed in or reverberation around the foundry. They were in no way obtrusive and certainly enhanced the listening experience.
Not surprisingly, the subwoofer gently chugged away for much of the film and shared the load of the deep bass harmonics of the megawatt live music along with the front mains.
|Surround Channel Use|
10:02 of interviews with Eminem, Curtis Hanson, Brian Grazer and Mekhi Pfifer on the philosophy of rap and the 8 mile.
23:38 of the warm up sessions of the crowds at the shelter. As Hanson explains, after a few days the extras started getting irritable, so to spice things up, a genuine rap battle was held with artists drawn from the crowd and pitted off against Eminem who was originally supposed to mime a response until the diss started getting a little too personal ...
Useful menu leading to the 25 excerpts of rap used in the movie together with their title and artist.
Saucy uncut version of the Superman music video featuring the vocals of Diana Rae and the fullsome curves of porn-star has-been Ginger Lynn (who caused a minor stir by claiming she indulged in a 17 hour 'session' with Eminem).
Hyperlink to 'exclusive' Eminem web-site. You have to install the InterActual 2.0 DVD player to access this so I didn't bother, as you can just go straight to the web site now http://www.8-mile.com.
Good quality 2:17 trailer in 6 channel sound and widescreen video.
Short preview features of the movies 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Hulk
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is good, mildly compromised by the inclusion of extras and 2 surround soundtracks.
The audio quality is superb, and is of reference quality.
The extras are plentiful and of good quality and interest, giving some useful background info on the film
|DVD||EAD 8000 Pro, using Component output|
|Display||NEC MP3. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|