Detroit is a harrowing piece of historical drama, a terrifying slice of reality that is masterfully drawn out by Kathryn Bigelow. The film tells the true story of a fatal shooting during the midst of the 1967 Detroit Riots, in which police officers brutally tortured and murdered several innocent African-Americans. While it’s definitely a politically charged film, Bigelow crafts a highly effective thriller that’s highly realistic, and powerful in every sense of the word.
The film is layered with many brilliant performers; John Boyega is absolutely brilliant as a mild mannered security guard caught in the midst of conflict, but the film’s standout is Will Poulter, who’s terrifying performance as a ruthless cop is worthy of an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. At over 140 minutes, the film is slightly too long, but each scene is as impactful as the last, with the majority of the film being a claustrophobic, intense thriller. It’s not an easy film to watch, but Detroit is a brutal, taught drama that ranks amongst the year’s best. Grade: A-