Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Film Review: "Detroit" (2017).

"It's Time We Knew." "Based on the true story of one of the most terrifying secrets in American History" These taglines sum up the story of Detroit. This period crime drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. Based on the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. This is the true story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of '67. Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel. 50 years after the events of July 25th, 1967, the question remains: what happened at the motel? This film answers that question.

In January 2016, it was announced that director Bigelow and writer Boal would reteam to make a film about the 1967 Detroit riots. Bigelow was inspired to take on the project after she unearthed the Ferguson (MO) riots events (Aug. 2014), where a black man was fatally shot by a white police officer. The film was scheduled to shoot in the summer of 2016, in order to be released in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the riots. In June 2016, John Boyega and Hannah Murray joined the cast. In August 2016, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Ben O'Toole, Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, Joseph David-Jones, Kaitlyn Dever, and Anthony Mackie were cast. In September 2016, Jason Mitchell and John Krasinski joined the cast. In October 2016, Jeremy Strong, Chris Chalk, Austin H├ębert, Ephraim Sykes, Laz Alonso, Nathan Davis Jr., Malcolm David Kelley, Peyton Alex Smith, and Leon Thomas III all joined the cast of the film. In late July 2016, principal photography commenced in Boston, Massachusetts. Other locations included Brockton, Dorchester, Lawrence, Malden, as well as Detroit, and Hamtramck, Michigan. The elimination of Michigan's film incentives in 2015 affected the filming locations. Specific locations involved included Ashmont Street, All Saints Ashmont Episcopal Church, and the Dedham District Court. For the Algiers Motel, the exterior, including the neon sign and poolside scenes, were shot in Malden. The pool was installed in the parking lot of the motel specifically for the movie and removed once shooting ended and the parking lot restored. The majority of the film and all of the Algiers sequences were shot in chronological order. Survivor Julie Hysell was present throughout most of filming. Despite being still alive, the producers couldn't reach Vietnam vet Robert Greene.

The film stars Boyega, Poulter, Smith, Latimore, Mitchell, Murray, Dever, Reynor, O'Toole, Davis Jr., Krasinski, and Mackie. The cast gave riveting performances from the moment the story delves into the nightmare scenario that was the Algiers Motel incident. Boyega, Poulter, and Smith, in particular, gave masterful performances that made them the stand-out actors in the entire film.

Gripping, suspenseful, and brilliantly crafted, Detroit dramatizes the the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot with intelligence and an eye for detail.

Simon says Detroit receives:

Also, see my review for Zero Dark Thirty.

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