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Published October 27th 2017
Detroit a film that makes you gasp in utter disbelief
Detroit written by screenwriter and former journalist Mark Boal and directed by Academy Award Winning Director Kathryn Bigelow, best known for the Iraq War Film The Hurt Locker and the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty, brings you the powerfully gripping story of a darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the 1960s.
Detroit is a film that makes you gasp in utter disbelief and horror. This film for me was so powerful and distressing to watch and yet so compelling and factual based on the real-life events that occurred in Detroit in the summer of 1967. Even while writing this review, I am still feeling very disturbed.
Throughout this film, you witness the civil unrest and rioting that tore apart this city. By the end of the five harrowing days of riots, looting, burning and bloodshed, there were 43 dead, 342 injured and around 1,400 buildings burnt down.
The opening scenes paint the picture briefly with an animated history of the African Americans through the 20th Century, then quickly taking you to the riots and where it all began.
The Detroit Riots of 1967 came about after a police raid on an unlicensed bar, better known as "Blind Pig" on 12th Street. The police squad raided this establishment taking the patrons outside lining them up to be arrested. This is when things turn bad and fast with an angry crowd gathering in the street, bottles thrown and within no time at all a riot erupted, shops looted, and buildings set on fire.
During the film it shows flashes of real-life news footage and newspaper headlines mixed in with the war-zone scenes you were watching, giving you the sense of how this was very real. I was shaken, along with everyone in the audience as we all gasped in horror, when a young girl was shot through her apartment window as she was mistaken for a sniper.
The film embodies the violence and the racism of this time with also reminding the audience that this was also a place of the sounds of Motown. Featuring the soul group 'The Dramatics' and how the start of their career is affected by the tragedy of these riots.
The bulk of the film is focused on the distressing incident at the Algiers Motel where the Detroit Police raided the hotel with bullets after fearing a sniper was inside. Then brutally interrogated a group of young, unarmed black men along with two white women. This ends with three of them being shot dead. It is in these scenes where you really feel the horrendous ordeal taking place and where the talent of these young actors shone through.
I was impressed by the incredible acting skills of Will Poulter as he plays Krauss, a racist cop who is so high strung and extremely angry. Here he, along with his fellow racist cops, Flynn (Ben O'Toole) and Demens (Jack Reynor), decide they need to teach the black people a lesson.
For an actor of only 24 years old, Poulter shows such talent and even though throughout this film you really don't like him at all, I felt he played this role brilliantly.
Caught up in the Motel tragedy is band member of the Dramatics, Larry Reed, played by Algee Smith, another young actor with such incredible talent and emotion - he was outstanding in his role.
This very moving emotional driven film is one that is a must but do be prepared to be shaken up by what you see. I really feel Bigelow succeeded in what she was trying to get across.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow -The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
Screenplay: Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and In The Valley of Elah.
Producers:Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison and Colin Wilson.
• John Boyega - Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
• Will Poulter – Son of Rambow and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
• Algee Smith - Earth to Echo.
• Jason Mitchell – Contraband and Broken City.
• Hanna Murray – Game of Thrones and Skins.
• Jack Renor – Dollhouse and What Richard Did.
• Kaitlyn Dever – The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12
• Ben O'Toole – Hacksaw Ridge and Water Diviner.