By Marc Woodfork
“Detroit” tells the story of the civil unrest in the summer of 1967. While this is a hugely important story that needed to be told, this film adaptation did not work. The first act is interesting. It’s a very good explanation of events that led to the riots. Then, it falls apart. The second act plays like a horror film — from the camera positions to the way the film is edited — it all plays out like a typical horror movie.
When we finally get to the third act, it’s completely unnecessary. What bothers me most about “Detroit” is its lack of emotional depth. You don’t feel connected with the characters. With subject matter that needs no added depth or forced sincerity, it lacks all of it.
Kathryn Bigelow is a fine director. I enjoy most of her films, but maybe with another or different writer or someone above the line with a diverse background could have helped connect the feeling and mood of the event.
On a whole, “Detroit” works for those who know nothing of what happened that summer. It loses its way in the smaller parts. The actors do well with the script the are given although, in some scenes, the acting seems over the top.
At 142 minutes, it certainly takes it time to get through. It would have done itself some favors had it shaved off about 30 minutes. Save yourself some time and disappointment and watch the documentary on the history channel