Fri, 28 July 2017
Detroit is a film that is well made, well acted but ultimately leaves you wondering who exactly this film was made for and why. We left the theater angry at what was shown in this film and while on the surface that might be viewed as the purpose of the film, that’s not good enough. The film is basically black torture porn where the villains (white cops) win in the end. There aren’t any moments where the past is tied to the present or a reflective call to arms for the audience. Instead it does what Kathryn Bigelow does best which is humanize white men who are terrible individuals while using black and brown people as punching bags. There are a lot of ways this film could have been made to address the tough subject matter without making it feel like an empty, deflating snuff film but that’s not what happened. The film makes a point to mention that there is debate over exactly what happened at the Algiers Motel that night yet it has no problem going into gory details drummed up from the filmmaker’s own mind.
Again, I have no problem with films that involve our (African Americans) history and the brutality that we’ve had to endure. I’m even one of the few who is on the fence about HBO’s Confederate (Granted, I have little faith in show runners who it took 5 seasons to finally figure out what rape is to do this right). But the problem with Detroit is that its really a film that treats black pain and death as a spectator sport with zero push back or fight. There's plenty of talk about the looters during the riot but none about WHY the people had been pushed over the edge. For 120 minutes we watch black people treated like animals. At one point early on in the film its implied that a little black girl is killed by the 50 caliber machine gun on the back of a tank rolling through the streets of Detroit. All of that is shown but when its time for the trials of the officers involved in the Algiers Motel murders, we get the abridged version in 10 minutes.
You can listen to our full review and why we can’t recommend this film. I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to see it.
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