Director Kathryn Bigelow has done it again.
Maybe not as visual as her previous two big films but the Academy Award winning director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, succeeds beautifully with Detroit, the story of a tragic dark time of racial tension erupting in the streets of Detroit, part of entrenched US history 50 years ago.
Bigalow makes movies feel so real that each doc-drama style film takes us to a place and time that puts us center field in the emotion and the events.
For the 3rd time Bigalow joins forces with writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty) with a powerful film that makes us want to cry out to stop something.
Detroit is set in the summer of 1967 Detroit riots, where police violence took place against African American young men at the Algiers Hotel. Police had raided a Detroit after-hours unlicensed bar on 12th Street in a black neighborhood. Three vans of African-Americans were arrested and tensions flared. Bricks, stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown and angry mobs rioted. Detroit was on fire. National guard were sent out. Tanks were on the streets. Riots were everywhere. Three young black men died one night.
Bigelow and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd use staccato sharp camera movements to get us to feel the unexpected events of subsequent riots but I felt it was a bit overkill and strategically planned too much. The acting is supurb across the board. The young actors all stand out and as you're watching this movie, you think - times have not changed all that much because this could break out today 50 years later. Anthony Mackie, who was in Bigalow’s The Hurt Locker, and plays a recently returned Army veteran from Viet Nam that you will take notice of.
The movie was shot mainly in Boston. A crew shot for one week in Detroit. The production companies are Annapurna Pictures, First Light, MGM, Page 1, Harper’s Ferry Productions
Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Ben O'Toole, Nathan Davis Jr., Peyton 'Alex' Smith, Malcolm David Kelley, Joseph David Jones, Laz Alonso, Ephraim Sykes, Leon Thomas III, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Chris Chalk, Jeremy Strong, Austin Hebert, Miguel Pimentel, Khris Davis