Plot: Set in the summer of 1967, based on the true story during the civil dispute in Detroit, which lead to riots. After gunfire appearing to come from one of the motel’s, the police, the state police and the army swarm the motel looking for the culprits. The night takes a horrifying turn when the local police mistreat the African Americans staying in the motel by beating and killing them in order to force a confession out of them.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Algee Smith, Ben O’Toole.
It’s an absolutely phenomenal film. The way the story is told is extraordinary and makes you feel chaotic within yourself. The camera was handheld but it wasn’t the annoying handheld where it shakes everywhere and you can hardly see what’s going on. It’s jerky but captures everything and it zooms in and out at such rapid speeds that it creates the sense of disruption. The camera represents what is happening. I’m really glad it was told that way because it made the story feel more authentic.
The five-day riot started because of a crackdown in an unlicensed African American drinking den, where many people were arrested. There were fires, shootings and a lot of violence. The police were ruthless and actually killed people who were unarmed and defenceless, they murdered African American’s in cold blood.
I love the cast but I was surprised to see so many British faces. However, those British faces are of actors I love. First of all John Boyega is absolutely sensational. His first ever film was Attack the Block and I love that film, I still have it on DVD. It’s so weird to see him in such big films now but he really does deserve it. He played a character that you really route for and hope he gets a good ending but unfortunately this is based on a real story and in real life we don’t always get happy endings.
Second of all, Will Poulter goes from the comedy We’re the Millers, to The Revenant and then to this. It’s hard not to fall in love with him after his lovable performance in We’re the Millers but I didn’t think it would get better much better than The Revenant for him because that was an incredible film but then Detroit came along and it is the best I have ever seen him. As much as I hate the character he played because he was one of the racist police men that beat innocent people, you can’t fault his performance.
Thirdly, the two girls that were in the film, one of them was from the British TV show Skins, which was my favourite TV show when it came out. Even though I’ve seen it all more than once, I still watch that show now. It was great. The other girl has been in various films from Short Term 12, Bad Teacher and Men, Women and Children. All of which are very entertaining films.
I was also not expecting to see Anthony Mackie, who is in some of the Marvel films, I had no idea he was amongst the cast but I’m so glad he was because he’s a great actor. Then there’s Reynor and Krasinski, I think I knew every single cast member. There are so many familiar faces in this film. The entire cast were brilliant. I think this film will be a contender at the Oscars so I can’t wait to see if some of the cast get nominated.
You’re literally thrown into the chaos straight away. The film wasn’t what I expected but what I did get was not disappointing. It has a running time of 2 hours and 23 minutes and an hour of that, at least, takes place within the confinements of one hallway where you see these horrible police officers brutally attack these innocent men because of a confession when really, all it is, is because they’re black. The way Poulter’s character speaks is disgusting towards the African American’s. He singles them out as “you people” like they’re vermin. It made me feel sick to see how badly they were treated.
What’s really frustrating about the story is that the three police officers get away with it. They go to trial and they’re found not guilty. It made me so angry. The ending was quite sad and I welled up a little bit because it focuses on one of the guys involved in the abuse as he finds a job and you just feel sorry for him, he never got the justice he deserved. Nobody did.
It is a really insightful film. If you don’t know much about the riots that took place in Detroit, then definitely watch it. I think it is a good thing for people to know what went on. It feels very much like a documentary. I don’t know whether saying I enjoyed watching the film is the right word to use, it was hard to watch but I’m so glad I did watch it. It’s a brilliant film but a horrible and upsetting story.
A harrowing, hard hitting true story but a must see!