Academy Award winners Kathryn Bigelow (Director, The Hurt Locker) and Mark Boal (Writer, The Hurt Locker) bring their acute attention to the 1967 Detroit rebellion and racial turmoil that ignited the streets like a wildfire. The filmmakers focus in on the outrageous police brutalities against African-Americans and a cold-blooded murder scene at the Algiers Motel. You can’t help but see our own reflection staring back at us in the glass that frames this ugly portrait hanging in the museum that is American history.

Detroit is not a pleasure to watch. It’s a hard look at the systemic racism of 50 years ago that still exists today. Bigelow’s use of handheld cameras delivers an authentic feeling of moving through a city under siege. The filmmakers do an incredible job setting an unfortunate stage for an equally incredible ensemble of actors to come in and fill out the story with some of the most raw and a realistic performances I’ve seen. I would love to see these actors nominated for the Best Ensemble prize at next year’s SAG Awards.

Detroit is an unrelenting, harsh, visceral blow to your senses. And even though the filmmakers take some unnecessary liberties with the story, they succeed in making you as uneasy and angry as we all should be. What’s worse is that this story is not just a part of our past, but a part of our present. No comfort is provided here in this timely work of art, only an embarrassing and infuriating glimpse into the horrifying Detroit riots.

Film: Detroit
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 143 mins
Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, and Anthony Mackie
Rating: R
Ry View: A Highly RYcommended work of art that needs to be seen.

  • I do not own this image. Picture courtesy of Annapurna Pictures.

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