For the 3rd time in a row, Kathryn Bigelow tackles a turbulent real life event on film, this time focusing on events surrounding the 1967 Detroit Riot.
Dealing with societal issues including racism and police brutality that are still sadly prevalent today, Detroit is a gripping, tense and at times frustrating experience that is utterly fantastic.
Opening with an animated sequence that explains events leading up the riot. The film shows the initial start of the riot before keeping its focus on the Algiers Motel incident and the participants involved, including the subsequent trial and aftermath. It shed lights on the events and issues in a way that feels natural and believable which makes the film very effective. One of the ways it does this is by having an array of varied and well motivated characters reacting in their own way to these hostile situations. All the characters feel genuine and no type of person is painted with the same brush, so not all the police are portrayed as bad.
The film runs a hefty 143 minutes which I feel is a tad too long but it manages to remain compelling throughout and has some very tense moments, creating fury and frustration for the viewer, just from the fact that such heinous things actually happened.
The acting is fantastic across the board with the cast including the likes of John Boyega, Will Poulter and Algee Smith, all of whom put on strong, natural performances carrying depth and I would be very surprised if we don’t see any nominations pop up at the Oscars, not just for acting but for best feature film and director.
Like her previous two films the majority of camerawork is made of a handheld aesthetic. It’s a style that works really well with the film matching with the hectic nature of events and keeping the focus on the humanity of characters, capturing emotion with tight close ups. Footage of the actual events are cut in thruought delivering a semi-documentary feel at points, adding to the films raw brutality and effectiveness.
All in all, Detroit stands as perhaps Kathryn Bigelow’s finest film to date and I would happily rank it above Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. It tastefully portrays the events in an engaging and informative manner, that draws parallel to present day problems and ultimately questions how and why these things even happen. I highly recommend it.
Story – 9
Acting – 10
Visuals – 8
Sound – 8
Entertainment value – 9
Overall – 8.8/10
Reviewed by Eric Hart (Blazinhart).