Detroit ★★

I'm from Detroit. I've lived in and around the city for the majority of my life. This movie has nothing to say about this city, the uprising of '67 or, most damningly, what it's like to be black in America. Detroit (the movie) is the cinematic equivalent of Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones; it luxuriates interminably in the depths of human depravity without ever arriving at a meaningful conclusion. Maybe the hopelessness I felt watching Detroit was intentional. It certainly doesn't feel like we've made any progress in becoming a more empathetic and just society since '67. Still, what's the point? For a black audience member, I don't see how there's anything to be found here that with which they aren't already intimately, depressingly familiar. All the film does is rub their noses in their own suffering. For white audiences, you could argue that it's supposed to be informative, but the amount of cruelty on display far exceeds any educational value; after awhile, it just becomes a nasty kind of voyeurism. Two hours later and I'm still numb.

I greatly admire Kathryn Bigelow for her earlier films, but, with Detroit, she's become yet another in a long line of white filmmakers who confuse inflicting pain on black bodies with telling a story about black lives. How can you let Will Poulter's psychopathic cop dominate so much of this movie? This isn't The Silence of the Lambs; racist cops aren't Hannibal Lecter. They're real and they already exert an outsized influence on our society before you give one a pulpit in your Hollywood movie.

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