I’ve been receiving a number of riveting African-American dramas in recent years. “The Help,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Moonlight,” “Fences,” “The Birth of a Nation,” “Selma,” “The Butler,” and “Hidden Figures”-all explosive, gripping, and entertaining on different levels.

This year, I just reviewed “Detroit,” director Kathryn Bigelow’s portrayal of the Algiers Motel Incident in Detroit of 1967. A riot between the African Americans and the police broke out, turning the city into a war zone, and the motel was a mile away from that. A toy gun was fired, and the police assumed it was a sniper. They placed a group of people at the wall, demanding to know who the shooter is and where the gun is. As a result: 3 African-American men were killed, while 2 white women, and 7 African-American men were badly beaten by them.

Bigelow, who also electrified us with “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” has outdone herself, by making the events life-threatening, gripping, and true (at least that’s what I believe) to them. Bare in mind: I’m not praising this movie because it scared a few audience members; I’m praising this because of how it represents real horror out in this crazy world.

The cast includes John Boyega as a security guard, who is the only calm cop in the events; Will Poulter as a racist cop, who plants knives by some of the dead ones; Algee Smith as a would-be Dramatics singer, among the victims; Jacob Latimore as his bodyguard, another victim; Hannah Murray as an Ohio hooker, another victim; Jason Mitchell as the one who fired the toy gun; Jack Reynor as another cop, who kills a victim, despite the others pretending to kill them to scare the others; John Krasinski as a defense attorney near the final act; and Anthony Mackie as a former soldier, who gets beaten more than the others. This is a great cast in a great film.

I sat at a special screening feeling scared, angry, sad, and entertained. This is an important film about an important event. I love the ways the movie was shot, told, written by Mark Boal (also behind “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”) and directed by Bigelow.


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Categories: Crime, Drama, History, Thriller

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