Detroit (2017)

(On Cable TV, June 2018) A social critique executed as a home invasion horror films, Detroit takes us back to the not-so-long-ago 1967, at a time when Detroit was wracked by the racially fuelled 12th Street Riots. Against this backdrop, we get a tale of innocent people terrorized and sequestered by racist policemen who invade a private home and threaten all occupants at gunpoint. The white women aren’t necessarily treated any better than the black men, and the theme of police brutality has an uncomfortably loud resonance. Katheryn Bigalow directs the thriller with her usual nervous energy, taking dry historical facts and making them as raw and frightening as any other horror movie. It’s really not an entertaining movie—it confronts us to abuses of power that still occur regularly, especially in racially divided 2018. Actors John Boyega and Will Poulter (unfortunately getting typecast as a villain) give rough performances, with notables as diverse as Anthony Mackie, John Krazinski and Jennifer Ehle in supporting roles. Still, this is Bigelow’s show, proving once again her standing as one of the finest directors working today. While Detroit often feels too much like a lesson, it’s a worthwhile lesson.

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