Detroit (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 143 minutes

Detroit (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Story worth telling
Bad: Asks too long an attention span in one go
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(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)

In the 1960s, racial issues were already boiling, but on July 23 1967, things really exploded. What became known as the 12th Street riot was the bloodiest race riot of the year, and cost the life of 43 people. In the film Detroit, we get to see how it all started, and what it must have been like, partly shown through news items, but mostly telling a story based on true facts.


While the Detroit Police, on July 23 1967, raid an unlicensed club, things get completely out of hand. Shop windows are broken, shops are looted, and people throw rocks at the police officers. The police can’t handle the situation on their own, and soon even Army paratroopers get to Detroit to try and restore order. At the same time, the black R&B group The Dramatics are due to perform in Detroit, and they hope to score a record contract while there. Their gig is cancelled though, as rioters are right outside and it’s just too unsafe to be performing. While they are leaving the city to go to safer places, their bus gets attacked, so lead singer Larry (Algee Smith) and his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore) go to the Algiers Motel to stay the night.

In the meantime, not far from the motel, Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega), a private security guard, is protecting a grocery store from rioters, when all of a sudden he hears a shot being fired. The authorities heard it too, and rush to the Algiers Motel, where they think the shot came from. Detroit police officer Krauss (Will Poulter) enters the building and together with his colleagues, and they shoot down Carl (Jason Mitchell), a guy staying at the motel, when he tries to escape. They find everyone in the building and line them up against the wall. Nobody is allowed to move until they say who the shooter was. Despite them not finding a gun, and everyone insisting that nobody fired a shot, each one of them is terrorized by the police, who hope to force some confession out of one of them.

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While the story of the film is one definitely worth telling, it was the length of it that bothered us a bit. The story makes you see just how dangerous and mad the streets of Detroit were back in 1967, and zooms in on a group of young people who happened to all stay at the Algiers hotel. Before it zooms in though, several different characters get their screentime, but it takes quite long before their stories come together. Once they do, there is the scene where the police try to figure out who fired the shot, but it takes so long that, where it was thrilling at first, in the end you lose interest and just want it to be over. Don’t get us wrong, we were quite intrigued by the subject and the storyline, we just think the film would have benefited from a less lengthy plot.

Acting was pretty decent in this movie. John Boyega puts down an honest character, who wants to do the right thing, but doesn’t always know how. Will Poulter managed to make his character Krauss be a coldblooded bent copper, who thinks he is sly enough to get away with almost anything. He really did scare us at some moments during the movie, as you never know what he might do next, coldblooded as he is. Poulter really did a great job there.

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As this kind of film often attracts a certain crowd that loves factual movies, albeit a bit dramatized, the special features on the Blu-ray edition cater to said crowd. While there could have been a lot of making of sequences and what not available, the creators chose to add material revolving around Detroit, be it the past, or now to the extras. For those who love to get a bit more than they bargained for when picking up this movie, or those who want to learn a bit about the situation, the extras are more than worth the watch.


Detroit tells a story that is absolutely worth telling, and that is a very important incident in American history. Given the director really took her time to tell it, you get a good idea of what must have been going on at the Algiers Motel, but the downside to that is that it overstretched our attention span, and got a bit annoying in the end. We certainly loved the story and the idea of drawing you in as a viewer, we just think the film would have benefited from a shorter story.

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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Detroit (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 6.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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