Movie Review: Detroit

August 8, 2017 6:12 pm Published by 1 Comment

If you follow me on social media, you may have caught my initial reaction to the movie Detroit, the first film Kathryn Bigelow would direct since her Oscar nominated movie, Zero Dark Thirty (2012). The events depicted in the movie are from the Detroit riots that took place 50 years ago but on watching this I dare you not to draw similar comparisons to the goings on today.

For those unaware of these events like myself, the catalyst for the riots at the time was a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours bar, whose patrons were predominantly African Americans. The cops were very much within legal rights to shut down the operation and one would think that these men in power would conduct their business with some level of decorum. Patrons of the bar were relinquished of any civil rights as they pushed and shoved, threatened violence and openly grabbed the breasts and asses of the female patrons. The outlandish handling of this affair lead to public outcry from the community and is what we now know today as the 12th Street Riots of 1967.

Detroit Riots of 1967. Image courtesy of Detroit Free Press

Through the first act of the movie we get, well thought out clips of the event and real live footage from 50 years ago, melded in with an introduction to the multi character casts of the likes of John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Alee Smith, Jack Reynor and a slew of other cast mates that deliver on some excellent performances.

The riot is but a backdrop as the director ushers us into the second act of the film, which sequences some of the worst police brutality you’ll ever witness. While hard to swallow this is where the performances shine bright. If you’ve read up on the events, then the end results will not be a surprise. I’m sorry to report there is no HEA in this movie. What follows is a trial as the police officers are asked to account for their actions.

In conclusion, while these type of movies give black people, as a whole some representation in Hollywood the last movie I watched of this type was Twelve Years A Slave. It’s my respect for this director and the story telling that compelled me to write-up a review about this film. Not only for the stellar direction and outstanding performances but for the relevance to how the subject matter still applies today. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about you must be living under a rock.

Detroit, similar to Twelve Years A Slave is a movie that I am happy I saw but will most likely never watch again.


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1 Comment

  • Rita Luken says:

    I lived in Detroit at the time of the Riots. I was 9 years old and of course didn’t understand much. But I do remember my Dad deciding to take us on an unexpected vacation for a week when things were really tense. I went to a predominantly all black school and I am white. I was a tiny little thing and 1 person started bulling me and 3/4 quarters of the school stood beside me and took care of me. Now again I’m young and naive, and really didn’t get it. Just knew these were my friends. When I was in the 7th grade we moved to the south and things were still very tense in the newly integrated schools. This is the school where I began to understand more of what was going on. I was being “bullied” because I had more “black” friends than white. It was the worst couple of years of my life.

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