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▽
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.
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.
What really strikes me is how little has changed since 1967. This could have happen last week, anywhere in the US, where black lives still not matter much to the white status quo. Macho cops play racist sadistic mind games, à la Stanford prison experiment, abusing and vilifying women & the ensuing trial is a joke, like in most cases involving police brutality. The black community loses. it's daily life in America.
Detroit will spark some debates as to whether or not it was simplistic and even a bit exploitative, but Bigelow's talent allows the viewer to be truly immersed in the story. The (very) long sequence in the motel was the best exemple of how visceral cinema can. I myself couldn't even breathe during the last 45 minutes of the movie.