Bigelow (Director) and Boal (Writer) once again prove that together they are a force to be reckoned with. The Oscar-winning duo that brought you The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty have produced a gritty - in your face film, that you can't look away from. One could argue that the most disturbing part of this film is that it's not fictional but a chilling retelling of a true story.
Fifty years ago the largest citizen uprising in the US history took place in the city of Detroit. A police raid of an unlicensed bar called the Blind Pig, in the city's Near West Side culminated in a riot that ended 43 lives and injured 1,189 people. The National Guard were called in when the conflict between the (95% white) Police force and the (40% black) citizens escalated to uncontrollable violence. There were civilian snipers, looters shooting at emergency services and angered mobs burning down the city. 7,200 arrests were made, some were just, though disgracefully more were unjustly made. The film is not about this shameful period in human history but it does take place during the long hot horrific summer of 1967.
In the film Detroit, policeman Krauss (Will Poulter), on day two of the riot fatally shoots an unarmed looter in the back. He is allowed to remain on active duty while his superiors chew on pressing murder charges.
When an incident occurs at the Algiers Motel, Krauss and two other proudly racist cops, Flynn (Ben O'Toole) and Demens (Jack Reynor) attend and take lead of the situation erroneously thought to be a civilian sniper attack. They respond to the call with a shoot first ask questions later attitude. Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell) is shot and killed by Krauss, who plants a knife near his bleeding body to cover yet another murder. Suspects are dragged out of their rooms and lined up against the wall in the lower level hallway. It is here where the events evolve into a real-life horror story of the worst possible kind.
The film is unquestionably well made. It boasts a strong, heavily fact-based script by Boal and is vividly created under Bigelow. It hurts to admit that the essence of this fifty-year-old story is still very much current events. The film leaves you with only residue anger eclipsing the sorrow you are forced to feel.
The one thing that gave me a sense of relief is that the film paid tribute to the victims of the heinous crimes suffered at the Algiers Motel. The film used the victims' real names. The other characters' real names were changed, no doubt to avoid lawsuits, but the real victims' voices and cries are finally heard through this film.
Will Poulter performance in Detroit is nothing less than outstanding, I won't be surprised if he picks up a few awards for his evil depiction of Krauss. Krauss was categorically terrifying, my hands shook and the words serial killer threatened to leave my mouth throughout the entirety of the hallway scene.
John Boyega was the other standout, as were Ben O'Toole, Jacob Latimore and Algee Smith.
Detroit is one of those films that you should watch. The film will have you starting conversations discussing the state of the world, red tape, racism and politics.
Take that person you most like to discuss important topics with and grab an extra large serve of popcorn.
Detroit is out in cinemas everywhere on 9th of November 2017.
Director:Kathryn Bigelow Writer: Mark Boal
STARRING John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Melvin Dismukes Will Poulter (The Revenant) as Philip Krauss Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War) as Greene Algee Smith as Larry Reed Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones) as Julie Hysell John Krasinski (The Office) as Attorney Auerbach Ben O'Toole (The Water Diviner, Hacksaw Ridge) as Flynn Jack Reynor (Glassland) as Demens Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner) as Fred Temple Jason Mitchell(Straight Outta Compton) as Carl Cooper
Strong themes and violence Running Time: 143 mins