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8 MILE


"As a camera subject, Eminem is resistant material--he has the general aspect of a walking hard-on--but he's fascinating, too, and his way of withholding himself is both a natural reflex and a method of teasing and dominating everyone else...Like the fighting in 'Rocky' and the dancing in 'Saturday Night Fever,' the rap songs in '8 Mile' possess a redemptive power. They release intolerable feelings of disgust, the fear of remaining a loser forever...In the tradition of 'Rocky' and 'Fever,' the movie is a shrewdly engineered piece of proletarian pop--a story of triumph--but, like Eminem's enraged lyrics, '8 Mile' has its own kind of vile candor...The movie says, 'Out of this junk, out of the self-hatred and anger that grow from living amid junk, rappers will make their art.'" --David Denby, The New Yorker

"Directed with superlative grace by Curtis Hanson from an uneven script by Scott Silver, the film takes place in the Detroit slums...The movie is positioned to be an anthem for finding one's true voice and making the right choices in life. Luckily, that's not all it's up to. What it's really about is the euphoria that talent can bring to those who are possessed by it. That euphoria lights up the screen. Eminem isn't a trained actor, but even when he's not in motion, he never goes slack...Who could have predicted that a rap movie starring Eminem would, at its best, be one of the year's sweetest joyrides?" --Peter Rainer, New York

"O.K., so I'm the wrong audience for this teenage junk. To me, rap is crap. Big news. And two hours of torture about the empty posturing of a no-talent loser who dreams of becoming the next Tupac Shakur does not fit my definition of upward mobility... I'm staying home with Cole Porter and the Gershwins...it seems like a shameless biopic about Eminem himself, but look closer and you'll detect a warmed-over, recycled Rocky in a high-speed microwave...The thought of Eminem as a movie star is horrible enough, but even if a lack of better judgment sentences you to two hours of this punishment, the sight of Eminem vomiting is not my idea of a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"... watching Curtis Hanson's gritty and electrifying '8 Mile,' the first thing you notice about Eminem, the most scaldingly powerful artist in pop music today, is how vulnerable he looks... It's hard to tell, at a glance, if his jittery presence is a reflection of all the anger he's got pent up inside or of how nervous he is about letting it out...Eminem holds his aggression back, projecting the scurrilous, soft-eyed yearning of a hip-hop James Dean...All of the performers are terrific..." --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"The film's star, Eminem, doesn't appear to have a great deal of range, but he can play himself. Even though the protagonist is named Jimmy Smith, the thoughtful '8 Mile' is a raw version of the rapper's own story...maybe the project doesn't make sense in the abstract, but once you submit to it, it works." --
Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times