film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Detroit 2017 * * * Stars

DetroitDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith

Detroit is my latest review. It depicts Motown's 12th Street Riot from the summer of 1967. The movie also hones in on the Algiers Motel Incident where three denizens were beaten and killed by the city's finest.

So yeah, I may have been born and raised in Michigan. In spite of this, I'm just now learning of these true events in the form of two hours and twenty-three minutes. 2017's Detroit is quite the eye opener.

For much of the way, Detroit is a crippling film to watch. It feels like the poster child for police brutality, the poster child for racial rigidity, and the rightful epitome of near torture porn. You the viewer, never feel totally safe while taking in this vehicle (no pun intended to The Motor City).

Director Kathryn Bigelow gives Detroit a shaky cam feel and a slight, documentary style. With Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, and now this current release, Bigelow can aptly be called the female Paul Greengrass or maybe even the harder-edged version of Steven Soderbergh.

Image result for detroit 2017 movie scenesDetroit in fits and starts, almost veers completely into "popcorn" territory. Bigelow uninhibited, lets the violence spill onto the screen. The barbaric images rendered, are sensationalized, nearly for show, and nearly in the form of carnival antics. So OK, they might be pertinent to Detroit's mosaic storytelling. However, this still kept me from saddling the film with a four star rating.

Certain flaws aside, Detroit has an overwhelming sense of time and place which is a strong point. Kathryn Bigelow works well with a huge cast (John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith), a vast canvas, and an unsteady lens that is always peeking in. Heck, Detroit the movie feels like real life.

Bigelow also provides some archive footage on the side, some war zone residue, and a constant sense of danger to her proceedings. Detroit the city, is made to look like Iraq or a medium-sized village during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Talk about unsettling.

Image result for detroit 2017 movie scenesIn conclusion, would I put the paranoia-laden Detroit in my top ten via 2017? Possibly. I'll know come January of next year. Detroit's rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson   

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