Digital. The films that Bigelow began to make since the overrated Hurt Locker adopt the style that the director simply, and in a reductive way, called "journalistic" (repeating the mistake of calling documentary style to a formless handy camera) , which in the worst cases result in something indistinct. In this case, however, the magnificence of the staging recalls Strange Days complex chorality, and the film won me.
The Detroits riots of 68 tie in with the Ferguson riots, and they make me think about 'Get Out', 'Selma' and 'I'm Not Your Negro' all films seen in the last 3 months, are part of the same narrative. What African-Americans (after the Native-Americans) have suffered (and still do) is a silent social holocaust. Will Poulter is as bad a villain as Amon Goeth (The sadistic Nazi played by Fiennes). Algee Smith IS the film▽
Kathryn Bigelow delivers another gripping story from the untold pages of history and it also serves as an indictment of our own times that shows fifty years later ain't shit really changed. This is a powerful film that will make you feel every emotion and really stop and think about the way we treat each other and how we perceive each other as people.
The saddest thing about "Detroit" is it should be a time capsule movie. The kind of film we look at like "12 Years a Slave" or "Lincoln" and quietly whisper to ourselves, "that's crazy, how could they do that?" "That doesn't happen today, thank God." But instead, "Detroit" is about a problem that is still prominent today; still interwoven in the fabric of America bearing the same disgraceful, inconsequential outcome.
Those sweaty evil cops reminding me of cyborgs would seem comically one note if they weren't conjuring up images of today's society. The middle is so powerful with their Nazi-like resonances and so well directed and John Boyega is the counterpoint to this evil and just when I thought he was going to be a Fritz Lang-y scapegoat it goes on way too long to become journalism again.
There can be no denying Bigelow's craftsmanship, or the sterling efforts of her terrific ensemble cast -- but the 'torture-porn' criticisms aren't completely unfounded. You'll leave furious, disheartened and angry; of course, that may be the point. But, the gratuitous, exploitative nature of "Detroit," as well as its defeatist attitude, keep it from being the seminal picture it could've (and should've) been.
I am going to concede at the outset that many concerns that have been raised re: telling this particular story this particular way are legitimate. Like the majority of the problems w/ DETROIT this is a problem of modus operandi. As filmmaking in and of itself, this strikes me as unquestionably the greatest of Bigelow's three docu-minded quasi-reportage movies. And what can I say? Tricky beast, but it spoke to me.