Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Detroit is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and it stars John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, and Jacob Latimore. This film follows several individuals who were in and around the rioting in Detroit in 1967. Specifically, this film tells the story of what happens after the police think there is a sniper hiding in the Algiers Motel. Tensions are high as nobody in the situation knows what exactly happened or how to handle it, and the situation quickly goes from bad to worse.
Similar to Dunkirk, this film is more situation based, rather than character based. The emotional weight and story of Detroit are driven by the situation at hand, not the characters in it. This method of storytelling can be really hit-or-miss. Thankfully, Detroit is a great example of when it works well. Detroit highlights what can make an already bad situation even worse. It focuses on the events that are happening, and in turn, we see how those events affect those involved, and how they're dealt with in the aftermath.
Kathryn Bigelow’s direction of this film was nothing short of fantastic. There were a lot of points where this film could’ve gotten off topic or even preachy, but it didn’t, and that’s because she managed to keep the film as a whole tightly focused on the story she wanted to tell. The most admirable thing about this film was that it didn’t paint one side or the other as good or evil. It shows that there were good and bad things and good and bad people on both sides of the fighting. It presents the situation as it happened, and it shows the injustices that occurred.
The performances in this film were great across the board. Some actors definitely had more to do than others, but they all gave very good performances. John Boyega shows in this film that he really has some acting chops, and when given a dramatic role, he can really handle it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really have a big role in the story, and it just reduced to someone who was there when it happened. Anthony Mackie was also in the film, although not very much. He probably had one of the smallest roles that could still be considered a role in the film. He had maybe one or two scenes where he spoke a lot, but that was about it. The big standout in this film was Will Poulter. Poulter is an actor that many people have become familiar with, but they may not know him by name yet. I say yet because he gives an absolutely amazing performance in Detroit. I would not be surprised if he gets nominated for an Oscar for this role. If he doesn’t, then there are going to be a lot of powerhouse performances to come from the rest of this year.
Another great performance in this film came from Algee Smith. I’d never seen or heard of Algee Smith before this film, but with the performance he gave here, I’m hoping to see a lot more of him in the future. He brought such an amount of emotion to his character, and you really understood what he was going through. Through Smith’s performance, the audience saw the struggle his character was having, and how it was shaping him.
There are only a few minor flaws that I can find in this film and those deal with the length and the pacing. There were several points in the last third of this film where I thought it was about to roll the credits, then it didn’t, and it seemed to just keep going. The film felt like it didn’t want to end, and it became a little distracting. The first two-thirds of the movie was fantastic, but the last third stumbled a little bit and wasn’t quite on the same level as the rest. It was still really good, but not as good as what had come before.
Detroit is a thrilling, emotional, and informative film. It highlights how a small amount of confusion in a bad situation can be disastrous. Admirably, it never paints either side to be the “bad guys”, it shows that there are good and bad people on both sides. However, that doesn’t distract from highlighting the true injustices that happened. The performances across the board were really good, Will Poulter and Algee Smith, in particular, stood out as giving the best. Kathryn Bigelow delivers a fantastic film with Detroit, and I believe it’s a film that you should definitely see. It will definitely have some buzz around it come Oscar season.
So what did you think of Detroit? Who do you think gave the best performance? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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