August 9, 2017

Detroit Review

John Boyega

Kathryn Bigelow should probably clear her calendar for awards season. The award-winning director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty will surely be invited to all the shindigs to honor her intense historical drama, Detroit. The film recounts the tragic horror movie that unfolded at the Algiers Motel in the midst of the weeklong 1967 riot in the Motor City. At the Algiers, a trio of sadistic policemen (Will Poulter, Ben O’Toole and Jack Reynor) terrorized a group of African-American men (including a member of a local singing group, The Dramatics, here portrayed by Algee Smith) and two white women while searching for an alleged sniper. 

Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal recreate the night as best they can, and the result is a true American horror story. No other 2017 film may be as topical as Detroit, a historic tale of police brutality to show just how far the justice system has not come in 50 years. This film unflinchingly flays American history to bare the bleached bones of police criminality. Detroit is not an easy film to watch—through no fault of Bigelow, who again shows an impeccable guiding hand for these sorts of high-octane, serious thrillers—but the story it tells is essential.