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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Detroit (2017)

In 1967 Detroit, riots ensued when police raided an illegal after hours club in a black neighborhood. At the height of the riots, police invade a local motel where ten black men and two white women are beaten and terrorized by the police with three of the black men murdered. After the one-two punch of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, I'll concede it's three in a row for director Kathryn Bigelow but this is by far the weakest of the three. It couldn't be more timely what with aggressive police tactics toward citizens (specifically African Americans) in the headlines for the past few years. It starts off with a bang in a semi documentary style setting up the background but once the storyline reaches the motel, its predictability causes it to lose steam. I think a major case of casting deflates the power of this sequence. Will Poulter who plays the racist cop in charge of the motel siege has, to put it bluntly, the face of a serial killer. He looks psychotic from our first view of him. If the role had been played by an actor with a more "normal" face, it would have added the necessary power to keep us off our balance. Instead, it's "Oh yeah, he's going to go all psycho on everyone here!". At 2 1/2 hours, the film is way overlong and frankly, we could have done without the entire courtroom section and Algee Smith's church moment. An epilogue would have sufficed. Outside of Poulter, the acting is excellent including John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray and Kaitlyn Dever.  

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