2 hours, 23 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for strong violence and pervasive language
John Boyega ...
Will Poulter ...
Algee Smith ...
Jacob Latimore ...
Jason Mitchell ...
Hannah Murray ...
Jack Reynor ...
Kaitlyn Dever ...
Ben O'Toole ...
John Krasinski ...
Anthony Mackie ...
Nathan Davis Jr. ...
Peyton 'Alex' Smith ...
Malcolm David Kelley ...
Joseph David-Jones ...
winning director Kathryn Bigelow has knocked it out of the park once
again with Detroit. Once again, Bigelow takes on delicate subject matter
with the expertise of a great filmmaker. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark
Thirty are good films in their own right, but this is far more affecting
and heart-wrenching than either of those films.
filmed wholly hand-held, and the shakiness that comes along with that
direction choice is extremely effective. Before the riots even start in
the film, you will be set on edge by the shakiness of the camera and
jarring cuts. This alone creates tension that is only ratcheted up
little by little as the film progresses. There are many scenes, that
because of the tension created with the camera-work, along with the
terrifying nature of the situation, feel like something out of a horror
Every actor here gives a near flawless performance. While
John Boyega is being marketed as the star of the film (which, he
was in Star Wars), this is actually a film without a standard Hollywood-
style star. These actors—even the bigger names—are treated as equally
important details in a larger event. In fact, despite the presence of
Boyega, Anthony Mackie, and Jason Mitchell, I was blown away most by the
lesser-known Algee Smith. The performances here are emotional,
powerful, but most of all, real. None of these actors feel like they are
acting for an Academy Award, instead each actor embodies the real life
people that lived through these events.
The shocking nature of
this film is all thanks to the film's subject matter. But I'm not here
to critique subject matter. Detroit, from a purely narrative standpoint,
is brilliantly written—jumping from characters and timelines until all
roads meet at the film's crescendo. Instead of the route Dunkirk
chose—throwing you right into the fire with characters you don't
know—Detroit instead gives each character scenes that let you get to
know them as people, allowing you to genuinely care about them.