Cert: 15 Runtime: 143 mins Director: Kathryn Bigelow Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Ben O’Toole and Anthony Mackie
I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals
Where has Kathryn Bigelow been over the last few years? A question I have asked a lot for a while. The Zero Dark Thirty director has finally returned with her account of the Detroit riots in 1967. This film hasn’t done well State side at all. It has been released at a very peculiar time of the year IMO. The recent issues in the US has probably not helped either. What is Detroit all about then? Never afraid to tackle tendentious subjects, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal now set their sharp sights on the events of 1967 Detroit, which sparked the worst race riots in American history. The action is centred on the Algiers Motel on a sweltering hot July night, where a random shot from a starting pistol brought in the National Guard and a large number of police sharpshooters. Three black men were left dead and several more brutally beaten; a black security guard, Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega), tried desperately to mediate between his white superiors and an enraged African-American community.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is guerrilla film making made right. She created consistent tension when seeing the scene in the motel play out, and lets the viewer view helplessly as they see the psychological harassment these young people faced against police and even marshals not even stepping in. It’s shot in a documentary style, but its content brings it into a realm of the visceral disgust of the and in the human spirit.A few faults its too long. Or, more approximately, it almost feels like the movie is over by the time its at the last 20 minutes. It can get a bit over dramatised too. It went from gritty and raw to Hallmark channel afternoon movie. Detroit could have gotten a bit closer to it’s characters and given us more insights into those struggles characters faced following this event. Cast wise we can only talk about Will Poulter. He shines here, he’s unflinching, unhinged, and unchained as you wouldn’t expect beneath his baby faced demeanour is something vicious, yet in every moment he’s fantastic. If his performance isn’t award worthy I don’t know what is. Despite its overdrawn length, Detroit still provides a very down-to-earth and intense experience, definitely worth seeing.