Racial tensions have been a growing problem in the past few years. Just imagine people who were born years after the Detroit riots and wondering what happened and trying to figure out these investigations. Made me think I shouldn’t go near the city now, though I didn’t know that much facts about this story. Detroit shows off a harsh look at what was taking place at that time that could’ve happened to somebody else in today’s terms.
Set during the summer of 1967 in Detroit, street riots were happening all over the city as the police and military spring into action as catastrophe all over the place. After an infamous incident occurred at the Algiers Hotel on July 25th, the tension really seems to be getting worse as the night continues.
This was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, and there’s no better direct to capture this than Kathryn Bigelow. One of the best female directors who knows realistic drama extremely well, I was excited about what she can do with this part of history. I still stand by my opinion when I say The Hurt Locker is the most overrated movie ever made and I still haven’t finished it to this day. But Zero Dark Thirty was terrific all the way around. From the looks of Detroit, it could have the possibility of being the next Selma on our hands. Not to so Detroit is one of the year’s best, but it’s honestly powerful to sit through.
Something that I’m always fond of when it comes to Bigelow’s directing is that it’s shot in a realistic documentary style with long conversations and a little shaky camera work. Then collaborating again with her Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal to tell this story worked in the film’s favor. The introduction to the characters were subtle. It looked like the research was there, while some moments were probably dramatized for the sake of the story. It starts out with us with the riots already in process. Dunkirk did the same tactic, but it wasn’t something that bothered me.
From the title itself, I thought Detroit was going to be more focused on the actual riots, and it does. But it mainly shows attention to the dangers at the Algiers. The situation that these people were in was a total nightmare for anybody can be in that position. A large portion of the film is taken place in the hotel where they want answers to who shot a gun at the National Guard, even though it wasn’t real. That entire sequence was amazing, but you just feel for these black men lined up on a wall with two white women (Hannah Murray and Kaitlyn Dever) beaten up and experiencing this horrific event in their young lives.
All the performances were powerful from everybody. John Boyega plays security guard Melvin Dismukes who tries to calm the situation. Will Poulter is easily a contender of the biggest bastard put to film portraying Officer Philip Krauss, this racist cop who was in charge of the incident. Breakthrough performance that I had my eye on throughout as Algee Smith as Larry Cleveland Reed, former frontman for The Dramatics. Didn’t know anything about this guy, and he gave a captivating performance. Then there’s Anthony Mackie, Jacob Latimore, Jack Reynor, etc. as supporting roles who doesn’t disappoint.
The film’s runtime tends to drag on a few scenes, especially the last 20 minutes were starting to lose me to where it just ends. But it was because it made me feel angry with how everything was coming together and the people aren’t being punished for what they did.
From the subject matter, Detroit didn’t go all that heavy on the violence like I thought it was gonna be. I actually was wanting to see this in theaters, but this came out a week before the Charlottesville riots, and it didn’t feel right to see a film that’s pretty much the same thing. With all the cons that have been going down today, especially in America, this shows how the country is corrupted by violence and terrible people in this world with not a lot of people not doing anything, But this probably won’t be something that I won’t be re-watching because of the topic of violence treated in the film. But it’s personally the second best from Bigelow/Boal that shouldn’t be overlooked at some point.
Detroit paints a relevant portrait that’s relatable in today’s world as Kathryn Bigelow brought a drama realizing one of America’s tense moments in time.