“Detroit” is everything I love and hate about Bigelow movies. Her eye for the docudrama style is second-to-none. Bigelow’s partnership with Mark Boal might be one of the best writer/director relationships currently existing. So, why can’t she get a handle on the inner city? Hell, she tries to define the issues facing Detroit at the time as being symbolic of the working class. While that’s not entirely wrong, it also makes the film look like an upper-class elitist turning up its nose as all poor people.
The inability to define an enemy outside of Will Poulter’s character cuts the feet off of this film. Poulter plays a racist caricature in a way that only a foreigner could view older era Americans. There’s not thought given to background or motive. Will Poulter’s crazed Officer Krauss exists to be a Simon Legree for a retrospective film. It’s too easy to say that villainy isn’t created overnight or is perpetuated by systems that need such cruelty. So, Bigelow takes the easy out and gives us a mustache-twirler.
HOW BAD DOES IT GET FOR DETROIT?
Don’t worry, woke crusaders! Bigelow also botches her handling of African Americans. Every African American in this film is defined by their fear of cops or their job. A few even have some political active Caucasian girlfriends. The upper class White Police Official wants to do the right thing for these African Americans, but those darn blue collar slobs are at it again! It’s like Police Academy, but with black kids getting shot to death.
When the carnage starts, it’s shot with the complexity of a news crew getting to re-stage Assault on Precinct 13. This time, the cops are the ones fighting back. But, the cops are getting systematically used as the attack dogs of station and order. No one learns anything and the cops get to carry on. All the while, you’ve got Will Poulter giving woke as hell interviews to promote the movie. It’s like he’s scared he played the role a little too well. Don’t beat up Poulter, Black Social Media. He took this movie over being Pennywise.
Here’s some background on the incident that inspired the film.
- 2 hrs and 23 mins