Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: John Boyega, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Anthony Mackie
Age Restriction: 16 L P V
Runtime: 2hrs 24min
Release Date: 18 August 2017
With the Black Lives Matter movement making waves in the US; now would be the perfect opportunity for Hollywood to release a film which bears a similar resemblance to the current tragedy.
Bring in a talented filmmaking team, who in the past have delivered excellent true-life based dramas which require extensive research, and you've got director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.
The duo, who were behind the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker and the Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty, transports audiences back to the 1967 Detroit Riot (aka the 12th Street riot) – where African Americans violently protested against the White police force, due to the ill-treatment and racism the latter enforced on people of colour.
However; Bigelow's latest only uses the 12th Street riot as a backdrop, with the crust of the film focusing on the tragic and brutal 'Algiers Motel incident'.
The incident involved police officers raiding the motel – which included multiple African Americans and two white women – after a suspected sniper attack from the building. The motel residents experienced agony as the White police utilised torture tactics which involved brutality, murder and racism.
Bigelow and Boal accomplish what they set out to do; delivering an honest, harrowing, claustrophobic, gut-wrenching and well-researched feature that remains gripping from start to finish.
Like Bigelow and Boal's previous two feature films; Detroit is detailed, powerful, emotional and of course, a well-made piece of cinema that Oscar voters will relish.
But most importantly, it is a film that will easily strike a chord with audiences – particularly victims of racial profiling and police brutality – due to the parallels it shares with the current Black Lives Matter movement.
Boal's screenplay provides an understanding to those not fully aware of the anguish this tragedy had bestowed upon these victims. It successfully transports viewers into the shoes of its victims, with fully fleshed-out characters that are exceedingly hard not to relate to.
While the film's villains are effortlessly easy to dislike, they are – oddly enough – the stars of the show. Will Poulter, who plays sadistic cop Philip Krauss, ultimately stands out and steals the show with an electric performance which may (it's far too early to tell) generate the British actor some awards buzz.
Bigelow's superlative direction is further proof of why she is one of the best female directors in the game right now. The way she is able to invest audiences into the film with a brutal, uncut, detailed and intricate tale that will move – and leave a lasting expression behind.
The only issue with Bigelow's film is the amount of time it takes before we get to the main event. However, the long haul is well worth the wait.
Verdict: Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal once again deliver an honest, harrowing, and of course – an excellently well-crafted drama. Detroit will shock audiences to the core, particularly due to the impressive performances, relatable character work and parallels to the current Black Lives Matter movement.