There couldn’t be a better time for the release of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. As a story about the struggle of black youth culture to define itself against an oppressive police state, the movie’s timing–on the heels of Ferguson, Baltimore, McKinney, and more–makes the film’s producers/autobiographers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube seem downright prescient. And the final poster image for the movie is a depiction of its five heroes–billed across the top as Eazy E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren (who was displeased about his role, or lack thereof, in the movie’s trailer), and DJ Yella, rather than as the actors who portray the characters–looking ready for any confrontation that could come their way.
For a simple, stark, black-and-white image, there’s nonetheless a few interesting things going on. The poster recalls Reservoir Dogs, which is a visual reference that carries with it a certain type of unity and badassedness that Straight Outta Compton should be pleased to accomplish, and the film’s title appears in a logo that more or less lifts the look of the “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” label that N.W.A. wore like a badge of honor. But mostly the image is stark and confrontational in ways that highlight how much Straight Outta Compton looks like exactly the right movie for these times.