Based on a true story that took place in Detroit during the summer of 1967, DETROIT the movie, opens with over-zealous cops raiding and shutting down an unlicensed bar operating out of the second floor of a printing company. They threaten the black patrons with violence and force them to line up as if they were criminals. This action touched off what became known as the 12th Street Riot. By the third day of rioting and looting, the National Guard was called in to enforce the law. Black males were targeted and every encounter was inflammatory.
The film moves from the civil unrest to a downtown theater that was hosting a pop-soul revue. When the concert is suddenly canceled, the lead bandmember and the band’s manager weave through the chaotic streets and end up at the Algiers Motel where a group of black young men were hanging out along with two young white women.
As part of the bravado, one of the young men, showing off to the others what a police encounter is like for a young black man, shoots off a blank from a starter gun. He then fires the gun out the window at the National Guard troops patrolling the area. Three junior cops, led by a trigger-happy racist cop, respond and what follows are gory acts of police brutality. By the end of the night, three unarmed men are dead and another nine people, seven black men and the two white women, are severely beaten.
The film then goes to the trial of the three white cops and a glimpse into our prejudicial legal system.
Dark, intense, anger-provoking, and at times difficult to watch, this true depiction of racism, hatred, and the ugly abuse of power, must, fifty years later, be talked about and constructively dealt with until history stops repeating itself. DETROIT is definitely a retrospective eye-opening reminder of how far from racism we have NOT come.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal
John Boyega as Melvin Dismukes
Will Poulter as Philip Krauss
Algee Smith as Larry Reed
Jacob Latimore as Fred Temple
Jason Mitchell as Carl Cooper
Hannah Murray as Julie Ann
Kaitlyn Dever as Karen
Jack Reynor as Demens
Ben O’Toole as Flynn
John Krasinski as Attorney Auerbach
Anthony Mackie as Greene
Joseph David-Jones as Morris
Ephraim Sykes as Jimmy
Leon Thomas III as Darryl
Nathan Davis Jr. as Aubrey
Peyton Alex Smith as Lee
Malcolm David Kelley as Michael Clark
Gbenga Akinnabve as Aubrey Pollard Sr.
Chris Chalk as Officer Frank
Jeremy Strong as Attorney Lang
Laz Alonso as John Conyers Jr
Austin Hébert as Warrant Officer Roberts
Miguel Pimentel as Malcolm
Kris Davis as Blind Pig Patron
Samira Wiley as Vanessa
Tyler James Williams as Leon
Glenn Fitzgerald as Homicide Detective Anderson