Kathryn Bigelow takes the gloves off and rolls her sleeves up to tackle the chaos that occurred in the aptly titled film “Detroit.” With race riots happening all over America in 1967, director Kathryn Bigelow hones in on one specific incident in Detroit at the Algiers Hotel.
The scene in Detroit was pretty crazy. White flight had already taken place which left blacks and other minorities displaced in impoverished areas with few jobs and even fewer opportunities. To top it off, constant raids and abuse of power by law enforcement were making black neighborhoods unlivable. In Detroit, a raid on a private party was the last straw for the black citizens and chaos erupted. Governor George Romney (yup, Mitt’s dad) called in the National Guard which made things even worse and a curfew was enforced.
Now to understand how awful the Algiers Hotel incident was you have to know this: Not a thing has changed between black people and police. Nada. Nothing. This year, 2017, marks 50 years since the time of America’s race riots and there has been zero progress with police relations. The only thing that’s changed is the technology. Black people were always faced with “my word against yours” when it came to police, with the public always favoring law enforcement (sound familiar?) and most cases go before white juries. Even with video evidence of the 21st Century, we will end up seeing 1967 results.
In this painstaking display of police brutality, officers Krauss (Will Poulter), Demens (Jack Reynor), and Flynn (Ben O’Toole) beat, abuse, torture, and kill a group of people inside of the residential buildings of the hotel. They’re looking for a sniper that doesn’t exist but they’re dead set on finding who among them has the gun. There are six black men and two white women for a total of eight. They are being harassed by the three aforementioned Detroit Police with a handful of National Guardsmen present along with a black security guard (who tries his best to straddle the line but he’s a turncoat) named Dismukes (John Boyega).
The first hour of the movie was setting the background and the framework of the happenings of 1967 in Detroit. The rest of the film focused on that horrific incident at the hotel and the trial that came after.
We gain some insight to how The Dramatics were formed and how to this day they’re one man short. Michael (Malcolm David Kelley) and his bandmates were trying to get signed by Motown, but after he was tortured at the hotel, he couldn’t stand to see white people dance to his music. He was never the same after that night at the hotel and to this day he’s a choir leader at a Detroit church.
The film Detroit gets an 8 out of 10. It was very powerful and Will Poulter plays a surprisingly good scumbag (I mean come on, with that baby face? He had to study to come off as scummy). It’s rated R (the beatings are pretty brutal) and the runtime is 2 hours and 23 minutes. It’s a good film to catch opening weekend but just know, if you have a drop of consciousness or claim to be ‘woke’ you’re probably going to leave the theatre angry. We’re talking race riots in 1967, there’s hypocrisy at every turn so eat your popcorn with caution… Might wanna add extra butter.