It’s fair to say that Kathryn Bigelow is on a roll.
Her last three movies (Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and now Detroit) have been gut busting horror shows about the human condition.
I love that Kathryn Bigelow sits in the ‘male’ directors’ chair. I love hat she must be and should be a feminist icon, because she does the sort of movies that she makes much better than most men make them.
Kathryn Bigelow likes an explosion, a gun, a death. But her female perspective on this raises it from guts and gory/glory into something higher. Something more profound.
Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker both took on war as the subject matter. This does too, but it’s the war of the races. The war of oppression by white men upon black in the Summer of Love.
Ironic, because this is a film about hate. Racism. Supremacy.
It opens with a short animation that perfectly encapsulates America’s fundamental tic. The thing that won’t go away. The displacement of race. From the displacement of American Indians to the displacement of Africans to the slave plantations of the Deep South and latterly their displacement into the Northern industrial cities like Detroit.
This displacement, in fact, displaces the white ruling class into the suburbs and that’s the start of deep tension and resentment.
We have witnessed this in the UK too, as gentrification of once unfashionable districts has displaced both black and white working classes into modern day ghettos. And it aint stopping any day soon.
What Bigelow achieves with this movie is a political calling cry to any liberal minded decent human being, regardless of colour or creed. It vilifies the atrocious white police force of late sixties Detroit (Yet, I don’t think Detroit itself was much different from other places – there were riots in Harlem for instance and we all know about 1980’s LA).
She creates an almost documentary feel that is more 4D than any of the 4D Sh!t you’ll see in multiplexes. Because this is for real.
Apart from the relatively well known John Botega (brilliant thank you) her massive ensemble cast is star-free. That’s kinda how she rolls.
But each and every one of the 20 or so leads (yes 20) will have had life-affirming, and early career defining, roles in this epic.
But one stands out above all else in this majestic movie.
The actual devil incarnate.
Were he real, not an actor, he should rot in hell. But he’s only an actor and his performance is surely Oscar worthy. You simply despise this evil racist bastard. And he is unflinching in his evilness. The smirk at the end of the movie almost gets you out of your seat.
This is a truly great movie. A movie that should be syllabus material on any High School history course.
Kathryn Bigelow and her team (especially writer Mark Boal) deserve all the awards that this movie will hopefully receive.