Sometimes it feels like race relations in this country have hit a wall. It feels like progress is never going to happen and black men will continue to be shot down in the street by the officers sworn to protect them. It’s like Justice is a white thing and these murderous police officers will never face any punitive actions for their crimes. Yet, that’s not entirely true. In order for race relations to hit a wall we would have to of ever stopped treating one race worse than the other at any time in our history. And that’s just not the case.
Kathryn Bigelow’s jarring new film ‘Detroit’ is a painful reminder of that sad history. It’s a movie that grabs you from the very first frame and does not let you go until it feels like it. Which is about two hours and twenty minutes after it starts. I actually believe that many people are going to just hate this movie and call it torture. This is a fair assessment. What these black men and two white girls went through 50 years ago was torture. And we can learn a lot by watching this tale and seeing how little has changed.
One of the best parts of ‘Detroit’ is how Bigelow doesn’t take blind sides on the events that unfold. It’s clear from the opening that the reason the Detroit riots began was in fair retaliation for police overreach, but the way the young black youths destroyed Detroit was stupid and destructive to their own people. I spent a good chunk of the first act of this movie angry with the stupid criminal acts these people were committing instead of trying to utilize their movement to organize their people in a cause. It was just angry backlash and it was truly a sad thing to watch.
Then the movie gives us the events of the Algiers hotel and it’s hard to not understand how someone might lose logic or compassion after this level of police brutality. I mean, the shit that happened in that hotel was beyond repulsive and incomprehensible. While it might be a stretch to attach this kind of brutality to cops in general, we should certainly be making these servants of the law hold their bad apples accountable. Which is another thing the movie shows was and is not happening today.
There’s no need to expand much further. It’s a shocking movie to watch and part of the shock comes from not knowing what comes next. Yet, after a while, you will be able to guess what’s around the corner and the depravity of your guesses being right will make you sick. Still, I cannot stress how important it is you see this movie. Out of all the films I’ve seen this year, this is the first must see that I never want to see again……but it must be seen.