“Detroit” tells the story of the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the massive 12th Street Riot in 1967 Detroit, Michigan. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have created a stunning film that will suck the audience into a historical moment of horror.
The film, based on what is known about true events, takes viewers into a world of absolute terror as the streets of Detroit become a warzone filled with racial hatred and violence. After a police raid, looters took to the streets vandalizing and robbing local storefronts.
Rapidly, the police response grew into extreme reactionary violence and fueled the fire of the riot. The national guard is called in and rather than getting the situation under control, the city devolves into what looks like a warzone in a foreign land.
The film has a great build up and the characters are developed quite well by the time the thick of the plot gets started around the Algiers Motel Incident, an event that resulted in the deaths of three black men and the torture of nine other people.
The entire cast is amazing. Heart strings are pulled by the characters portraying Larry Reed (Algee Smith) and Fred (Jacob Latimore), two musicians that are caught in a horrific nightmare simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
John Boyega also delivers a heart wrenching performance as Melvin Dismukes, a black man who tries at great length to stay safe and keep the peace. His character is portrayed as caught in the cross fires of morality and necessity.
Will Poulter plays a real-life villain as blood thirsty and racist police officer, Phillip Krauss. His portrayal of Krauss is terrifying.
The film as a film, is gripping, an amazing cinematic feat. But, the story is painful to watch. Scarier than any horror film, “Detroit” brings to light one of the darkest sides of the human species and a bloody stain on American history.
Profound. I give “Detroit” 5 out of 5 stars.
Second Review By Gareth
In America in the 1960s, racial tensions were at an all-time high. There had been several riots that had erupted over the inequalities that divided the country and it often erupted in violent confrontations with police and resulted in significant amounts of violence and damage.
In the film “Detroit”, Director/Producer Kathryn Bigelow looks at a disturbing series of events that happened during 1967 during a riot in Detroit.
Using news footages and images from the event to open the film, the audience is seen how a largely white police force often resorted to brutality to bring suspects of color into line and would often harshly prosecute minor infractions.
With the National Guard and police at a severe state of tension, a suspected looter is shot in the back by a police officer named Krauss (Will Poulter) and later dies from his injuries. The fact that he shot an unarmed suspect in the back twice does not sit well with his superiors and Krauss is informed that they will form an investigation and they are suggesting that murder charges be filed against him.
At the same time, security officer Dismukes (John Boyega) is called into work shortly after he returns home from his main job. He is being tasked to protect a store and sets up shop with his partner in an area that is being occupied by the National Guard.
The film then shifts to a group of musicians who are about to have their big break by appearing onstage at a Motown showcase. Moments before taking the stage they are informed that the riot is encroaching upon the area and that they along with the mostly white audience need to evacuate.
Disappointment turns to terror when their bus is attacked and the group takes refuge in the Algiers Motel. It is at the hotel that the band meets two white girls who dabble in prostitution while trying to get their careers off the ground.
There is some tension between the band and some of the residents at the hotel for the attention of the two ladies and one individual attempts to pull a prank feigning being shot with what turns out to be a track pistol.
After the others have gone back to various rooms, the person pulling the prank decides to fire his pistol at the National Guard who will scatter thinking they are under fire.
The prank backfires when the National Guard and Police storm the hotel to find the sniper. Things get worse when one of the band are found in the same room as the two white girls which outrages Krauss and his fellow officers.
What follows is a very dark and disturbing series of events where the suspects are physically and mentally assaulted and denied their basic civil rights. As tensions mount, mistakes happen and people end up dead.
The film follows how events rapidly spun out of control and how tragic events happened and were covered up. The film then moves to the aftermath of the incident and the trial that followed as well as detailing what became of the key individuals after the event.
The film is a masterful and powerful film that shows that Bigelow is one of the most gifted Directors out there. She gets a masterful performance from her talented cast and does not pull any punches in bringing the events to the screen as best as they were able to reconstruct. The film is a serious Oscar contender and underscores the duality of how far we have come as a society in terms of social reforms while at the same time, illustrating how little many things have actually changed.
“Detroit” is simply the best film I have seen this year and is not to be missed.
5 stars out of 5
As a bonus, we have added features which look at the real people that were involved in the actual events.