Detroit is one of the most powerful movies Ive seen in a while. Director Kathryn Bigelow has portrayed the brutal and ugly events which took place at the Algiers Motel in Detroit in 1967 so vividly that one is left pondering the injustice of it all for days.
During a raid on a club, the police intimidate and assest innocent people for being out after curfew and patronising an unlicensed club. The event infuriated black people and a mob gathered and began stoning the police, and rioting. Shop windows were broken and looting was rife, fires were started and mayhem ensued, This was the beginning of the notorious 12th street riots. Since anarchy was reigning supreme, the Governor called in the National Guard and the army to try and regain some semblance of order. Officer Philip Krauss, against the orders of his superiors, pursues a looter, and shoots him dead, but he is not relieved of his duties, as his superior decides whether to charge him with murder or not.
In the midst of all this, The Dramatics, a black band is about to perform at a music hall in the city, They are hopeful that they will land a recording contract but just before they are due to perform, the venue is shut down and evacuated by the police.
The guys head for home but their bus is attacked by the rioters and they split up. Larry Reed, lead singer and his friend, Fred, end up renting a room in the Algiers Motel, for the night, as they fear it is too dangerous to try and make it home. They meet two white girls, Julie Ann and Karen, who introduce them to some black friends of theirs, and they spend the evening smoking, drinking and having fun. One of the guys starts goofing around with a toy gun, which spooks the police, who believe that there are snipers in the hotel, and violence, terror and murder ensue against a bunch of innocent young black people, once again led by Krauss.
Melvin Dismukes, a black security guard has been employed to guard a grocery store nearby, and becomes involved, trying his level best to save as many lives as he can, without antagonizing the police.
This is a brutal, heartbreaking movie, and the fact that it is based on actual events makes it all the more hard hitting and powerful. Kathryn Bigalow pulls no punches and tells it like it is.
I could really relate to the events in this movie, as it reminded me of the brutality and human rights abuses of the Apartheid era.
The film stars John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and a host of lesser known actors, who without exception, gave the performances of their lives.
Not be missed, so grab your popcorn and a box of tissues and go and see this potential Oscar winning movie.
The film releases at cinemas countrywide on 18 August and is classified 16 L P V.