Director: Kathryn Bigelow
cast: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith
Genre: Drama, Thriller, History
Country of Origin: USA 2017 143 mins. (15)
Released by e One
Kathryn Bigelow's take on the Algiers motel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots, is a full-on fear, terror, horror, hit hard 143 minutes that lingers long after you've left the cinema. Filmed in real time, Barry Ackroyd's hand held camera thrusts the viewer into the centre in documentary style scenes of rage filled madness which with Mark Boal's script ('The Hurt Locker' and 'Zero Dark Thirty') and superb performances throughout makes for gripping cinema.
In the summer of July 1067, a police raid on an unlicensed drinking den sets off a race riot with police and National Guard in full combat gear on the streets of Detroit. Larry (Algee Smith), lead singer with the Motown group, The Dramatics and his friend Fred Temple (Jacob Latimore) seek refuge in the Algiers motel in Carl Cooper's (Jason Mitchell) room with Vietnam veteran Green (Anthony Mackie) and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever) and Julie (Hannah Murray), two white girls visiting from Ohio. Cruising the streets, Detroit cop Krauss (Will Poulter) and his partner follow up on a report of a sniper in the Algiers motel which is riddled with gunfire and stormed. Baby faced, racial bigot Krauss is a happy man. He's on the hunt, fired up having shot a looter in the back. With fellow cops Flynn (Ben O'Toole) and Demens (Jack Reynor) they'll play out a macabre and brutal death game and security guard Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega), seen as a second class citizen by the cops and a lacky by the locals, called in for an extra night duty to guard a store, a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, is the reluctant witness. Brutal interrogation and beatings end with the police killing three African American teenagers.
The final frames switch from the Algiers motel to the federal court and an all white jury and then to The Dramatics. A recording's offered, it's the moment they've dreamt of but lead singer Larry's life has changed and he can't just slot back in. That's the moment when it grabs the heart strings.
A powerful and thought provoking story of a brutal and shameful moment in America's struggle for racial equality. 'Detroit' is a should see, must see movie.