Much like The Dark Tower (2017) I’m going to keep this one short. For completely different reasons. If I waffle on too long there’s an excellent chance that I’ll disappear up my own arse, or make this piece all about me. Which would be totally incongruous to the point of this movie. I’m also going to keep it short because Kathryn Bigelow’s message comes across so powerfully in the film, to try and describe it would only denigrate her accomplishment.
Detroit is based on real events. As with all real life inspired movies, there’s no way to know how much of it is true and how much is exaggerated for artistic licence. If you have to know, having done absolutely no research, I believe this story to be 99% accurate. But it doesn’t matter. This movie is an exercise in the uncomfortable reality of racism.
Krauss: I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals.
It is not an enjoyable film to watch. It’s not supposed to be. If, like me, you have the benefit of a life lived with white privilege, trying to comprehend this kind of experience is simply impossible. We hear about incidents on the news, and occasionally see pieces of footage from body cameras, and we can be sad and outraged. But Detroit is an unrelenting glimpse in to the world of police brutality and the helplessness of living in a society that isn’t there to protect you.
I feel white guilt and shame when I watch Crash (2004), but I still like the film. It wraps its individual story threads in a neat little way so you can feel glad that you’re not Sandra Bullock, and realise that even Matt Dillon wasn’t a complete racist.
Don’t expect the same here. For all intents and purposes this is a horror film. A powerfully intense, bleak, real-life horror film.
Please watch it. It’s important. Just don’t go for date night. And eat beforehand, you might not feel like it afterwards.