Words cannot describe my distaste for this movie.
Spoilers ahead, but it doesn’t matter because I’m going to tell you not to see this movie.
Normally, I review every new movie I see for all of you. But like with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, I will not give Detroit the courtesy of reviewing it properly because it does not deserve that. Here’s why.
Detroit mainly focuses on the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the city’s racially charged riots in 1967. I will be presenting the facts as they are shown in the movie and explain why Detroit is the most gut-wrenching film of 2017 so far.
The writing, acting, and directing may all be great, but the way this movie makes you feel will have you regretting you spent your time on it.
The incident begins when a young African-American man sees the police and National Guard several blocks from his room at the motel and thinks it would “teach them a lesson” to fire a starter pistol in their general direction. The authorities charge towards the motel, kill the man, line up black teens and two white girls against the wall and proceed to viciously interrogate them. What is heart-crushing about this movie is that Philip Krauss (Will Poulter) and his two cops (Jack Reynor and Ben O’Toole) basically terrorize these kids. They don’t just beat all of them relentlessly, they play the “death game,” a horrific interrogation tactic that makes the suspects think the others are being killed. Reynor’s character doesn’t know what Krauss and O’Toole are doing, and he shoots one of the teens point-blank and kills him. Afterward, Krauss lets the others go, but only if they won’t speak about what happened to anyone. When one of the teens refuses, he gets shot in the head.
Of course, the cops are only as violent as they are because most of the teens are black. That makes the movie that much harder to watch. Racism is disgusting, despicable, repulsive. They even terrorize the two girls because they think they were having sex with Anthony Mackie.
To top it all off, none of the cops are convicted of their crimes, When that faded newspaper headline scrolled slowly across the screen, my friend and I walked out. I’d never done that in a theater before, so that should give you an idea of how frustrated we were with the content. We had already talked about leaving well into the second act, and I wish we did at that point. That may have been how it happened in real life, but the movie couldn’t even give the satisfaction of bringing my most hated movie characters of all time down.
There are two reasons why Detroit is as disturbing as it is. First, this really happened. Those teens were killed because some racist cops took advantage of their power. Second, the acting sells it. Performances like these transcend the illusion of the camera and you feel as if you are watching the incident like it happened. But when it comes down to it, Detroit is an altogether unpleasant experience, and its agonizing runtime of two hours and twenty-three minutes does not help its case.
There may be boring movies like Split or ones that insult you such as Alien: Covenant, but no movie this year has been painful as Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. I hate this movie. Don’t ever see it.
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