Detroit ★★★½

Brilliant in patches… the biggest patch being the first twenty or so minutes, which recreate the Detroit riots with uncanny authenticity. Bigelow and her team’s ability to direct extras and actors in bit parts effectively makes the film come alive time and again. The central drama, of course, is relatively efficient in its ramrod approach, but the bluntness of the scenario and dialogue and Bigelow’s reliance upon slasher movie tropes in her camera setups feel like errors. Still, these scenes fundamentally work in conveying the horror of the situation, unlike the hoary courtroom drama that follows. The final moments, however, are inspired, depicting a synecdoche of black American disenfranchisement that somehow puts a cap on a story that is historically unresolved.