(US - 2017)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Written by Mark Boal. Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Ben O'Toole, Nathan Davis Jr, Peyton Alex Smith, Malcolm David Kelley, Joseph David-Jones, Laz Alonso, Austin Hebert, Jennifer Ehle, Chris Coy, Miguel Pimentel, Chris Chalk, Glenn Fitzgerald, Dennis Staroselsky, Darren Goldstein, Jeremy Strong, Gbenga Akkinagbe. (R, 143 mins)
A harrowing chronicle of the 12th Street Riots in Detroit in late July 1967, with a focus on the infamous "Algiers Motel Incident," DETROIT is the latest from the HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY team of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal. It's pretty powerful--unflinching and disturbing, and difficult to watch at times. As a dramatization, it takes some liberties, changes a few names, and condenses some incidents for time and storytelling purposes, but according to those who were there who were either interviewed by Bigelow and Boal or, in the case of Juli Hysell, who was 18 years old at the time (played in the film by Hannah Murray), on the set as a consultant, it largely sticks with the events of the night, if not the aftermath. DETROIT's themes and imagery resonate today with seemingly endless police shootings of frequently unarmed suspects by inevitably acquitted cops and the resulting protests by groups like Black Lives Matter. Things haven't changed over 50 years, and while the more "woke" film cognoscenti argue, in their increasingly ludicrous pursuit of things to find offensive, that it's a film that shouldn't have been directed by a 65-year-old white woman, Academy Award-winner Bigelow again demonstrates that that she's one of the top American filmmakers going, something anyone in the know figured out back in 1987 with NEAR DARK, and one that you wish would work more frequently.