No matter where we live, no matter who we are, borders bind us all…some real, some imagined. Many of us are content to live within these borders. Others are forced to. However, some of us need to break out, burst through, even if what lies on the other side is both frightening and unknown. 8 Mile is a story about these boundaries that define our lives, and a young man’s struggle to find the courage to transcend them.
Eminem himself stars in 8 Mile, along side, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer.
The film is set in Detroit, USA. In my opinion, the film is set here, due to firstly, Eminem being from Detroit and secondly, the ‘8 mile’ divide between Black and White people, in Detroit. The year of the film is 1995; this coincides with Eminem’s bringing up in Detroit. So, obviously, it is semi-autobiographical.
In 8 Mile, the characters all dress in conventional rap clothes, such as baggy and free clothes, in order for the rappers to move in their shows. Another feature of the style of clothing is that rappers do not wear belts. This style emerges from convicts, in prison, having their belts taken away and their trousers dropping down, slightly. Rappers mimic this style in the way they wear their clothes. In the first scene, Rabbit is wearing baggy tracksuit bottoms and a hooded top. This is to show the audience that the film is about rapping and the lives of rappers.
Curtis Hanson, the director, shows Rabbit’s inspiration through him listening to his Walkman for a lot of the film. Rabbit’s Walkman seems to be his treasure and only friend, so to speak. This portrays further, his inspiration that is gained via his Walkman.
Rabbit’s lifestyle, in the beginning scenes of the film, seems rather tedious. His job, home-life and social seem to repeat themselves constantly. Hanson shows this, tedious life, by the repetitive days within the start of the film, mostly at work. However, Rabbit’s horizons open up when he has an offer of a free recording session and his mother wins the Bingo. Rabbit’s horizons soon diminish when he turns up at the recording studio to find his girlfriend engaging in sexual conduct with his friend. He goes mad and attacks his friend, in the studio. This attack, in the film, is significant to the violent side of Rabbit and portrays that rappers are not necessarily law abiding and peaceful people.
The family background depicted in 8 Mile is of a poor, diminished and, in some ways, violent background. For example, Rabbit lives in a trailer with his mum and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend decides to go off on one when he finds out that his girlfriend, Rabbit’s mother, is going to be evicted. Again, Rabbit stands up for himself, and family, and attacks, violently, his mother’s boyfriend in front of his mother and little sister. All of this shows that Rabbit sticks up for him-self, and family, and, again, is violent to an extent. Detroit is full of poverty, some self-inflicted and some not. The self-inflicted poverty would be from people burning houses down and mistreating the community.
Race is a massive issue within the film ‘8 Mile’. The fact that Rabbit is white is seen as a problem by a lot of Detroit’s population. Near to the end of the film Rabbit is viciously attacked by a group of black people. This attack may not have been racist, however, it demonstrates how Rabbit is of a minority and on a different side of the ‘8 Mile’ divide.
At the end of the film, Rabbit overcomes the hubris of the ‘8 Mile’ as he faces the audience in a rapping battle and finally makes his debut, so to speak, as the audience cheer and love him!
To conclude, the film ‘8 Mile’ shows a young rapper go from nothing to a start of fame. It shows a black and white race division, with some violence, poverty and general problems within the Detroit community.