Detroit Review

Detroit Poster

 

There is certain subject matter that is hard to transfer into film. Police brutality, police misconduct, and racism are a harsh reality that many people still deal with today. Detroit is a film that covers this subject matter during the events of the 1967 Detroit riot. More specifically, the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the night of July 25–26. Going into this film, I did not do any research about the film’s plot. I assumed that it was a purely fictional story set around the police brutality of Black people during the Detroit riots. The director, Kathryn Bigelow, does a great job at making you feel like you were in the situation with the characters. The film’s story was not one sided in showing that all cops are bad. It showed that cops are people just like us. Yes, we saw a lot of bad cops in this film, but we also saw some who just wanted to help, some who did not wanted to be involved, and some who were just confused. We also got to see how the riots made some of the Black characters feel. Some Black people were just angry at the system that they lived in, some wanted to make sure that other Black people survived and did not do anything stupid, and some were just caught in the middle while trying to live their lives. I felt just as scared as the characters while sitting and watching the events unfold on the screen. I believe this was because Kathryn Bigelow knew exactly which camera angles to use to make the space feel tight, bringing on a feeling of claustrophobia for me as a viewer. This was very similar to the direction she used in her previous films, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. The story of Detroit started out a little slow, but picked up as the film progressed. I had to remind myself that this is a crime drama and not an action film as much of the “action” was driven by the situation and the dialogue. Each of the actors involved did a great job portraying their characters. This film is packed with great actors. There even a few cameos that I was not expecting. The standout of the film for me was Will Poulter. He disappeared into his role of the racist cop, Philip Krauss. He has come a long way from We’re the Millers and should continue to take more roles like this, as it can only benefit his career. John Boyega did great portraying Melvin Dismukes as well. For most of the film I felt his character was unnecessary and shoehorned into the plot for the sake of adding star power. However, as the film progressed, I found out exactly why he was necessary to the plot. This wasn’t the starring role for Boyega that the trailers led me to believe, but he was still good inclusion to the film. Additionally, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, and Jacob Latimore had great performances as Robert Greene, Larry Reed, and Fred Temple. Detroit is a film that can be hard to watch at times, but you have to power through. There were times where I felt sick to my stomach seeing what was being done to the characters while being interrogated by the cops. It wasn’t just the police brutality that made me feel this way. It was also the officer’s lack of compassion and irresponsibility of the justice system during that time period. Not knowing what would happen to characters by the end of the story had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I give Detroit a Decent 8.7/10. This film is a must watch as it reminds us that the issues of police brutality and racism we faced in the past are still present today. It is great to remind ourselves of how far we have come as a country and how much more we can do to continue to improve. Only together can we move forward as a nation!