This is a startlingly true account of the infamous police raid that took place in Detroit in 1967 that sparked even more racially-fuelled protests and riots across the USA. Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow takes her hand to this painful account of injustice and bigotry to deliver a film that resonates long after the end credits roll.
The story focuses on a series of characters who, coming from all different walks of life, find themselves on a collision course as the city of Detroit suffers under increased strain of public unrest. The predominantly white police force clash with the public. This culminates in a devastating interrogation at the infamous Algiers Motel where 3 black men lost their lives for no reason other than the colour of their skin.
The cast are truly superb with John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever, Nathan Davis Jr. and Malcolm David Kelley all handing in stellar, powerful performances. Will Poulter impresses greatly. He has really picked his projects well and this is another fine example of his extensive range as an actor. He is chilling in the role, but it’s one that has hidden layers of hate rather than pushing a caricature racist onscreen. This makes his performance all the more convincing and terrifying.
The ad campaign has John Boyega front and centre but the story involves much more than just his character, and it’s the way the story handles the complexities of the situation that really grabs your attention. It affords the time for each of the victims’ stories to be told. When the interrogation occurs you feel stifled by the sheer dread of the situation, which is a testament to Bigelow’s direction and Mark Boal’s script. In this tense scene, Anthony Mackie and Algee Smith hand in truly breathtaking turns.
If there is a gripe, it’s that after such a calculated and detailed build-up and examination of the event, the finale then feels extremely rushed… almost to the point of not doing the whole story justice. The legal proceedings are glossed over far too quickly and not enough time is spent dealing with the repercussions. But that doesn’t take away any of the power, anger and sense of injustice that the main act provides. It’s something which will stay with you for a long time and marks a depressing and sadly all-to-relevant reminder of where we were as a society – and the fact that history looks like its repeating itself in today’s troubled world.
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Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever, Nathan Davis Jr., Malcolm David Kelley Director: Kathryn Bigelow Writer: Mark Boal Released By: eOne Certificate: 15 Duration: 143 mins Release Date: 8th January 2018