If there is a lesson we should all take from ‘Detroit’, (A.K.A. Kathryn Bigelow’s newest attempt at an Oscar.) it would be the phrase “History repeats itself.” You see it in the news more than ever – reports of rioting, racial tension, and police brutality – whether it be as a trending topic on Facebook, on the newspapers delivered from city to city, or your television. This type of negativity is really hard to escape, but these are not new problems, they have become social issues for decades; causing the connection between racism and police matters to become debatable among those who hear the news. It happened in the 60’s, and it is still causing discussion now; which is why Bigelow decided to bring this true event to light.
‘Detroit’ centers around the 1967 12th Street riots in Detroit, Michigan. Around the streets, there is chaos; Bigelow captures it well, as we see the hustle and bustle of African-Americans express their anger toward the police. Surprisingly, the 12th Street Riots are just the set-piece for a more horrifying event to occur. The main story revolves around the infamous Algiers Motel Incident that happened one night, which involved police brutality, causing the tragic deaths of three African Americans. It was a scary sight to witness. Even if it feels drawn out, Bigelow knows how to provoke fear and tragedy while putting you in the place of that chilling event. Add to that, a terrifying and impressive performance by Will Poulter as a racist cop-in-training, who becomes the “interrogator” to these victims, and you have yourselves a great movie!
Recently, I have heard criticisms about ‘Detroit’ being either “Social Justice Warrior propaganda”, or a movie that provokes “white guilt”. Even though I can see those points as a factor, with the way most of these moments are dramatized to make you sympathize with the victims of this particular incident, ‘Detroit’ proves to be more by telling you the story the way it was probably told. If anyone is worried about this movie being an overlong attempt at Oscar bait or anti-white film, there are plenty of real-life photos and audio recordings around the event to give you a little history lesson. Bigelow, for the most part, makes sure that the event isn’t sugar-coated to a fault; making ‘Detroit’ one of the must-see pictures that has graced the screens of 2017. Here’s to hoping that the Academy doesn’t miss this great film! John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, and John Krasinski also star!