Detroit (2017) Review


Within the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, a curfew was placed on the city in an attempt to stop the riots. Three young African-American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel due to Police brutality.


We are given a background with the riots first starting and what followed with the very white police force from Detroit not taking too kindly to the events. The racial tension this created was at boiling point, with Krauss a police officer not hiding the fact he was totally racist at all. Absolutely evil, everything about him but just wait though as if you think early on he is bad just wait for everything to unfold.

It actually takes quite a while to get to the motel, we are given some character development especially with Larry which I think could be a reason why we care so much about him. Other characters we don’t get a huge build up towards. Something that is built up in a frightening way is the tension between the people in the hotel with the police officers and security guard Dismukes, who tries his best to help his fellow African American’s.

The film is certainly not an easy watch, if anyone finds it that way then it would certainly raise concern in my opinion. It makes you wonder what was based on fact, what was created for film purposes. I will admit that I didn’t really read up about the events before the film. Sometimes I prefer to just watch and then read after. Especially with the subject matter in this film, you just don’t want to believe that people could really do that to other people. Even though they have and in some places it is probably still an issue. We don’t want to accept that though as it just makes you feel extremely low and well sick.

Performance wise everything seems to be around John Boyega and Will Poulter but I actually found the standout performer to be Algee Smith. I was really blown away by his performance as I think it was rather unexpected, a very interesting character with Larry a man who wanted nothing more than to sing and be signed by Motown but the events at the hotel really scarred and changed his life. Don’t get me wrong though Poulter does pull out a very sadistic performance where you really did hate the character and wanted nothing more than to see him pay for the horrible acts he committed.

I didn’t really enjoy the film, as I don’t really think your supposed to in all honesty. It is important to highlight how cruel people have been. With that though I did find one moment to be very happy and show that you cannot blame everyone for the views of someone else. Ok, that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense but having some police officers who were actually trying to help was an important part of the story as well, they weren’t all the same. That is something that can be taken into many different contexts and something to remember when a bad thing happens, you will still get the odd good person.

A gripe I had with the film was Bigelow’s style with the three/four cameras to capture the movement it just felt too shaky and all over the place at times, like it had been filmed on a mobile phone. Might not have helped that I was sat rather close to the screen, but I am not a fan of that camera work. I guess I am firmly staying on the fence with this one, very different to what I expected from the trailer. Not an easy watch at all.

5 thoughts on “Detroit (2017) Review

  1. I agree that this was a difficult film to watch and not really one to enjoy. I thought parts of it were very impressive particularly the middle act and also the performances. Didn’t like the shaky camera work either or the lack of character development and overall the first part went on too long and the final section felt rushed almost bolted on. Just watching the end credits thought that the soundtrack was excellent (better than Baby Driver in my opinion) but thought the live music scenes were out of place and not really developed. Bit of a mixed bag overall. Good but not the classic the critics would have us believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah totally agree with all of that! I was kinda guessing the music scenes were to take the edge off a little bit? But I know what you mean felt totally out of place.


  2. This is a very complex film and probably requires a second view to really get to the nuance of the whole presentation. Detroit is microcosmic of the issues of race throughout American history and is, as you rightly say, an impossible pill to take. It’s not meant to be easy but a complex, muddled narrative which reflects the different perspectives of those involved without actually getting to the actual truth. I think the music was there to provide some light to the abject darkness of the events otherwise the grim proceedings would be even more depressing. Music provided an escape for Algee Smith’s character amidst the horrific tragedy of these heartbreaking crimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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