Wednesday 6 September 2017

Film: 'Detroit'

I really didn't want to see this, having heard that it made for gruelling viewing, which is precisely what it turned out to be in the central section at least. As for the lengthy opening section, I was getting close to being bored, and the concluding part was way too long as well. 

Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director Oscar for her 'Hurt Locker' in 2010, which also carried away that year's prize for 'Best Film'. This one made nowhere near the same favourable impression with me.

It tells of an incident which took place in a Detroit motel in 1967 during a period of racial unrest and riots when a sniper is believed to have shot at police from this building. The police force entry and several black men and two white women taken from rooms, abused and roughed up, three of them ending up dead. In charge is racist cop Will Poulter (very good indeed) who will stop at nothing to find out which of them was the alleged sniper, while the quieter side of reason is played by John Boyega as a security guard. His role doesn't call for much range of emotion other than displaying silent, passive disapproval at the cops' methods. 
The tension in this middle section is very effectively engineered and almost palpable, a sizable amount of blood being spilt.

I found the scene-setting of the first part far too extended, running to three-quarters of an hour, and involving a Motown male singing quartet, 'The Dramatics', which, though little more than incidental to the film's main focus, yet it ran on and on - and in the long epilogue the narrative pointlessly returns to the quartet, assuming that we'd be interested. Well I, for one, wasn't.

I'd been expecting Boyega and Poulter to be the dominating screen presences for most of the film but it was only in the middle section's police raid of the motel that they had much to do at all. It might also be argued that Poulter's retention of boyish looks in his face does not sit too convincingly with his role here of carrying respectful authority.

There's no doubt that the key central section of the film is powerful. A lot of what came before and after it was disposable, and made the film a needless close-on two and a half hours long. 
I could watch 'Hurt Locker' again, but not this.............5.5.


  1. Replies
    1. I think anyone going to see this, J.G., out to be aware that this might not be the film they expect it to be, seeming to have superfluous start and ending tacked on to the 'essential' bit.

  2. It begs the question if you didn't want to see it, why did you? I saw the trailer to it and decided I didn't want to see it and won't.

    1. In this case because of the reviews and the director, Rachel. I see quite a lot of films I'd rather avoid, WW2 tales being among them, but feel I've something of an obligation to do it 'for Queen and country'. Having said that there are certain categories I will NOT view, such as those that have a significant animals element in them, and even moreso when they are shown to be suffering or in distress. For the latter reason I don't think I can bring myself to see the new and highly-praised 'God's Own Country'. Totally inconsistent, I know, but that's the way it goes.

  3. Ray,
    White I know bad things happen, I don't go to see "lesson" films. I don't consider them entertainment. I see enough of this on the news already.
    Thanks again for the heads up.

    1. Ron, 'lesson' films, most of all when the 'lesson' is promulgated by a child barely out of his nappies (diapers) make me want to RETCH!