Detroit – A Movie Review
Looking at Detroit the movie, I can understand why one may feel that a Black Historical event should not be told by a White writer, and producer and present it for Black audiences. What it does accomplish though is some level of neutrality in telling the story. This is done however at the expense of building an emotional connection to the movie. It is difficult to feel emotionally connected if Blacks are shown looting and firebombing their own towns as riot police try to get the situation under control.
But Detroit is not about the riots, it is about an incident at the Algiers Motel. An incident that could have been prevented if someone didn’t do something stupid as firing off a toy gun from the motel as police are on the look out for snipers during riots. What happens next is a nightmare of interrogations that will forever ruin lives, both of the innocent and the guilty.
There are great performances in Detroit. The actors as spot on.
John Boyega, as Dismukes, a Black security guard who acts like a peace-maker, whose only wish is that he can help the victims survive the night. John Boyega has matured nicely since role in Star Wars, and I feel that he is a Denzel Washington in the making.
Will Poulter, plays Krauss, a White rogue police officer, who uses gruesome interrogation techniques to get his victims to talk. The problem is that they are not giving him the information he is looking for. There are many victims in his path, the Black boys, two White girls, who were caught socializing with the Black boys at the motel, and fellow White officers and National Guards who has to decide whether to turn a blind eye, or try and help the victims secretly. There is an over-riding theme in Detroit that terrorizes the victims by pretending someone is either being beaten or shot. Unfortunately not everyone is aware of the game and gets ugly.
Ben O’Toole plays Flynn, another rogue police officer.
The actor who impresses the most was Algee Smith, as Larry an aspiring singer. I only felt emotional attached to Detroit after the dust was settled and the verdict was in, and Larry sat in a lonely room trying to make sense of it all. Incidents like what took place in the Algiers Motel, can kill the human spirit even as you gather the remnants of your life.
At 2 hrs and 23 mins. “Detroit,” feels like 3 hrs. Many of the riot scenes could have been cut, but the intensity of the scenes in the motel, and the reaction of the family of the victims, and watching Algee Smith makes up for the length. “Detroit,” takes a while to reaches its peak at emotional intensity, but it gets there in the end. I give it 3 1/2 Stars out of 5.