Friday, 04 August 2017 00:00

Detroit Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Annapurna Pictures and First Light Production present an R rated, 143 minute, Crime, Drama, History film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal with a theater release date of August 4, 2017.


I have to say when I left the theater after watching this film and returned to my office to write this review the first thing I did was pour a drink. I seldom drink at home but my head is so filled with emotions that I think I needed it to relax.

July 23, 1967 in Michigan the largest race riots in history at that time broke out. When white police raided an establishment in Detroit for afterhours drinking on premises without a liquor license a number of black men and women were taken away by police. This caused outrage in the community that night and started the Sunday riots. White police were attacked; firemen trying to save torched buildings were also attacked by members of the black community, looting took place as people smashed windows and broke through gates of local businesses. I personally to this day cannot understand when people march to make a difference why they still find it necessary to destroy property and steal from the ones that work so hard to survive in this mixed up world.

On day three two white policemen chase after a black looter and as he runs Officer Krauss (Will Poulter) shoots him in the back. Later interrogated by his police chief he lies about the incident but is still able to work on the force during the riots even though there were recommended murder charges against him. During this evening the Dramatics were going to perform live on stage at the Motor Town Theater with lead singer Larry (Algee Smith) but when the owner closed the theater due to the riots his dream never came true that night. Instead he and his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore) decided to head to the Algiers Motel to chill out for the night. This is where the two young black men meet Julie (Hannah Murray) and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever) two white girls visiting from Ohio. That night the four of them decided to visit Carl (Jason Mitchell) and his friends for a bite to eat in his room but when things got a bit out of hand Larry, Fred and the two girls left Carl’s room. It was at this time that Carl decided to fire his pistol out the window which caused local police, the U.S. army and state police to stage an attack on the motel.

Officer Krauss was one of the first men in as well as Officer Flynn (Ben O’Toole) along with U.S. army Warrant Officer Roberts (Austin Hebert) not long after security guard Dismukes (John Boyega) who was guarding a local establishment showed up on the scene as well. At this moment forward life ended for three black men with the brutal beatings of nine other people: seven black men and two white women. The story created such emotion for me from the beginning some in anger of the black community and equally at the white community. What happens within the motel was some of the most frightening moments that I can hardly imagine living through let alone dying for. Innocent people died that day by the hands of some idiotic racist white policemen and to watch these people suffer angered me so much inside. It also made me think that black people cannot hold all white people accountable for their actions as well as black people on white people. In this world there are good and evil and it is not based on the color of one’s skin but rather the inner core of that person’s being. I hate to think that in this present time the people who support and allow Mr. Trump to serve as President of America, the land of the free, don’t comprehend that he is trying to set us back to the days of racial divide and hate. One can only hope that he serves his justice unlike so many did on July 25, 1967. Whether causing hate and harm to another being with your own hand or turning your head to it, you are wrong.

There were some good officers that tried to help, even the homicide department which were white during this injustice but sad to say the help for what it was came too late. Larry and The Dramatics got a call from a record producer but he could not find it in his heart to perform for Motown knowing that whites enjoyed his music. He was tortured both physically and mentally that night in the motel which changed the future of his life forever but as I stated not everyone feels the way that some do and to let those racists uneducated people win is a travesty and that goes for both whites and blacks. When this case at the Algiers Motel went to court two years later with an all-white jury the outcome was one that proves that sometimes the court system is wrong as well.

There is so much that is based on the history of what happened that night and some obligations were used within the story but either way I don’t believe I told too much in this review since there is a lot that happens especially at the Algiers Motel. Praise to Bigelow for a great direction of live filming mixed with some actual news footage during 1967. I appreciated that she and the writer Boal bring out so much emotion expressing that there are good and bad sides to any color. I think my remarks express it all and if I have to say anything negative it may be that the film plays about twenty minutes too long and that there could have been a bit more development on some of the characters. But overall this film is intense and hopefully will not lead people to move further into anger but rather learn from it and move forward as one human race. It’s a dream I pray for everyday when I watch the news and walk the streets or hear what some people have to say. We elect our government officials and if they cannot do the right job for all Americans than maybe they don’t deserve to be in office and only we can make that change for the good of all people. Hats off to the casting department because all the actors were believable in both a scary and loving way but if I have to give the top standouts for award considerations I would have to say Smith and Poulter controlled this story and made an impression in my soul.

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