DETROIT Review - Emotionally Riveting, Shocking, An Early Oscar Favorite

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

DETROIT, from Annapurna Pictures, presents the story of the 1967 Detroit Riots, one night, three rouge cops, a city out of control, and an horrific encounter at the Algiers Hotel, which would end with three dead, others, the survivors, incapacitated.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, DETROIT stars 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 Kelly, Joseph David-Jones, Laz Alonso, Ephraim Sykes, Leon Thomas III, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Chris Chalk, Jeremy Strong, Austin Hebert, Kris Sidberry, Lizan Mitchell and Samira Wiley. DETROIT was written by Mark Boal.

DETROIT begins with a pictorial intro, of African American art work, frame by frame, depicting the migration by the Negro from the deep south to northern cities, recapping the last fifty years.

We find the Negro wasn't the only thing that migrated from the South, lynching, white supremacy, KKK tactics, hate also made its way North and in 1967, spread like a plague, a disease of mind and heart, that was attacking neighborhoods around the country.

In July of 1967 DETROIT was the fifth largest city in America, policed by nearly an all-white force, who did not think twice about the use of violence to keep "the colored" in line.


Beltway Insider: Trump/Priebus; ObamaCare Survives; MS-13/Immigration; North Korea; Detroit


The film begins with a raid on an illegal after hours club on July 23, a black cop, his informant and a city already on edge. After the Negros from the club were arrested the neighborhood men, who had been watching the incident were verbally sparring with the police, which lead to retaliation of threats, which escalated to replies of rock throwing.

The police quickly left, as in the LA 92 riots, for their own safety they abandon the position, after the police left, one person with uncontrollable rage, who had had enough of the system of injustice, began a lawless looting sprees. Others, fueled by mob mentality, followed.

Soon they were tossing the motif cocktails and white owned business were being systematically destroyed. Destruction of livelihood has always been a common war tactic. Businesses belonging to the "enemy" were often destroyed. In Detroit in 1967, black owned businesses spray painted "Soul Brother" on the doors hoping to save their livelihood.

As the riots rolled into Day Two, then Governor George Romney ordered Michigan State Police and Michigan National Guard. Military Guns, with trigger happy weekend warriors were on the street, at the hint of trouble, the whiff, or glint of sun glare, without provocation, friend, foe or child, the weekenders were using the war guns to suppress the shadow in their imagination.

Until this point we haven't meet our key players, we've seen mob rule and military suppression, hitting key horrors of the riots. It's now the film narrows to the events at the Algiers.

We meet first the Detroit PD, Krauss played by Will Poulter, Demens, played by Jack Reynor, and Flynn, played by Ben O'Toole. Patrolling the 12th Street Neighborhood with orders not to shot looters, the three are exchanging banter with Krauss, the most racist, believing the riots will rival those of 1943. Watching the buildings smolder, he dictates his opinions to the others, hard-line rule, his positions on control, on supremacy due to the badge, through suppression. Not as race, of course.

Before the Algiers there were hints that Krauss was a cop on the edge; the riots and the need for street police allowed him to head out for a night of belt notches.

As we pan to the Algiers we meet those staying at the cheap motel in the parameter. The lead singer for The Dramatics, Larry, played by Algee Smith, his manager, Fred, played by Jacob Latimore, picking up a room for the night to ride out the mob rule that had taken over the streets.

Those two would meet up two girls from Ohio, Julie, played by Hannah Murray and Karen, played by Kaitlyn Dever, who would introduce them to a group of friends who lived in the Annex of the Hotel: Carl played by Jason Mitchell; Aubrey, played by Nathan Davis, Jr.; Lee, played by Peyton 'Alex' Smith; Michael, played by Malcolm David Kelley and Morris, played by Joseph David Jones. Another guest, a Vietnam Vet, Greene, played by Anthony Mackie was also staying at the hotel.

Working security in the same area, Melvin Dismukes, played by John Boyega and National guardsman, Warrant Officer Roberts, played by Austin Hebert.

What started as an evening of promise for some, fun for others, thankfulness for others rapidly deteriorated into a living hell when the Detroit Police raided the hotel believing a sniper was firing on them.


Celebrity Interview: Weinstein Producer Joey Horvitz Talks on The Lexus Weinstein Short Film Contest, The Process, and Partnership


DETROIT is an emotionally riveting film which will penetrate the soul. The film is not the product of a man's imagination it is a true to life recreation of actual events. Which causes its heart to hit like a stifling summer heat.

Bigalow takes a huge event, beginning at the top of the funnel, of the African American migration to northern cities, narrows it to a season, narrows the focus even further to a day and down to a specific event. This style of filmmaking is different, and unexpected, which can create for the critic not so much for the movie goer, a curiosity of dissection.

Bigelow has documented the events with masterful authenticity remaining truthful to the days, times, seasons and events. She doesn't hold back allowing traumatizing and horrifying scenes to play out. She doesn't play to the audience; she brings the fullness and apparently expects her cast to do the same.

The entire cast, validating those long dead, brought a depth to their performances that came from somewhere unknown and gave life to this appalling and shocking injustice with a genuine legitimacy.

Trauma can be a long lonely road to recovery and it is shown Larry, the once lead singer for The Dramatics, who was unable to recover emotionally from that evening, and with his support system gone, trauma kicked him down, and held him in that place for some time, until circumstances forced him to make a choice.

Letting the film simmer, it was easier to see the need to set the tone. This season of Civil unrest, an event fifty years ago, and it could be Staten Island, Ferguson or Minneapolis. And begs the question of police brutality, how far does the badge shield if as a society we have not progressed in fifty years?

Injustice reverberates through the decades, a constricting, strangling, deep chest hollow, "I can't breathe" echo of violence past and present.  

DETROIT is a reactionary film. It is staggering, distressing, with inexcusable, horrific, atrocities. What follows is equally astonishing, although not surprising and brings to mind recent injustices.

DETROIT is playing in select cities and opens wide August 4, 2017. See this film. 

 

Haute Tease

  • 10 Contenders Remain In VFX OSCAR® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 87th Oscars®. The 87th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

     
  • The Academy To Screen Festival Favorite "Snowpiercer"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues its series spotlighting film festival standouts with a screening of "Snowpiercer" on Friday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bing Theater on the LACMA campus. Director and co-writer Bong Joon-ho will be in attendance as a special guest.

     
  • Scottish Psych Pop Band The Moonkids Are Something Spectacular

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button
    Scottish Psych-Pop outfit The Moon Kids are shooting for the stars.The band's latest single 'Forever Blue' - a sunshine-drenched slice of 21st century Indie attitude - is the latest salvo in a series of white hot releases that began with their acclaimed debut EP.  
  • The Award Winning Film “LANDFILL HARMONIC” Comes To Washington DC For One Night Only On Tuesday September 13, 2016

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Insight Property Group and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital is proud to present a very special Washington DC screening of the acclaimed award winning film LANDFILL HARMONIC on Tuesday night, September 13, 2016 at the Avalon Theater beginning at 7:30 PM.  

  • Largest Rare Quahog Pearl Discovered By Bostonian Shucking Clams To Lead Bonhams Lapidary Auction

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A rare and very large purple, non-nacreous Quahog pearl will be offered at the Lapidary Works of Art, Gemstones and Minerals auction to be held at Bonhams’ Los Angeles at 10 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Crime

  • Justice Watch: Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty in Toddler Torture Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Scott McMillan, the toddler murdered by his mother and her lover of one month, was buried one week ago in a tiny casket supplied by a local mortuary in a graveside service attended by his remaining family members, aunts, uncles, grandmother.  

     
  • Terrorist Attorney Lynne Stewart Receives Holiday Pardon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Lynne Stewart, the famed New York Civil Rights attorney arrested for smuggling messages for a blind Egyptian sheik serving a life sentence for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks, has received a compassionate release.

     
  • Manhunt Continues in Upstate New York Prison Break

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Residents in the tiny town of Dannemora, New York, remain on edge as two violent prisoners, in a daring escape from the maximum security Clinton Correctional facility have managed to elude capture for a second consecutive day.

     
  • Ariel Castro Found Hanged to Death in his Cell

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ariel Castro, the man found guilty of holding three Cleveland women hostage for over a decade and sentence to life plus 1000 years in prison, was found hanged to death in his prison cell.

     
  • 11 Tons of Cocaine Seized; Undercover NYC Sting Nabs FOX Producer; HuffPo Blogger; Chipotle CMO

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A three nation joint task force comprised of American, Italian and Colombian law enforcement have seized 11 tons of cocaine and arrested 33 people in a mafia-linked drug ring in the jungles of Colombia, South America.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • HL A&E Presents The Best Summer 2016 Music Festivals, by the Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Every year, thousands of people flock to church. The devotees pray in flower crowns and straw hats, fringe-laden vests and neon body paint. They are the congregation of music lovers, gathering from many different corners of the world to worship at the summer’s many music festivals.  

  • San Diego Jazz Fest Features Traditional Jazz, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Gospel, and Ragtime

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego, California, For Immedite Release - The San Diego Jazz Fest takes place November 26-November 30 and will feature over thirty bands and guest artists from across the U.S. playing for dancing and listening in seven venues.

     
  • HL Artist Interview: Joshua Haupt, the Steve Jobs of Marijuana, Talks Epilepsy, The Cost of Weed Knowledge and The Burning Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    While the debate rages over medicinal marijuana in conservative states, one young man in Colorado is moving forward, with a mission. Undeterred by the challenges Joshua Haupt has partnered with several major consumer goods giants to introduce cannabis as an alternative treatment.   

     
  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.

     
  • A California Closing Review – The Perfect Set of Characters for A Summertime Read

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ready for a digital detox? Looking for the perfect summer read, a purely fun, page turner, turned down corners, smudged pages, a no app necessary, trashy, romance novel or high brow biography; soft or hard a genuine book?