Well hello avid readers, welcome to the latest installment of Ellen Talking…as our resident critic of all things music, movies and food. We thought we’d channel her energetic verbal energies into the written word. Rated or slated she doesn’t hold back.
Detroit dives right in with an interesting history lesson using vivid paintings to illustrate the great migration. The intro beautifully documents the movement of African Americans from the South to the North and Midwest in search of more industrialised homes.
Almost instantly you are gripped when a seamlessly harmless party is raided and scare tactics are used by the police, intimidating the party-goers with apparent racist motives. This incident seems to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Rebellion soon spreads through the neighbourhoods of Detroit which are aptly named “no-man’s land”. Chaos descends with rioters looting, starting fires and expressing their outrage in acts of mindless yet harmless vandalism.
The movie itself focuses on one particular incident in the Algiers Motel where three black teenage civilians lost their lives and many more were beaten and humiliated. Police brutality is the main focus of this piece and the film really portrays it in a way that makes you feel true anger.
Will Poulter (who I absolutely loved for his incredibly funny character in We’re the Millers) manages to play the heavy handed, power hungry and completely infuriating Krauss – the ringleader of the brutality. This is the first time I have seen Poulter in such a hard hitting film and he really surpassed my expectations. Credit where credit is due, he played a complete Jon Snow (get it?).
Stand out performance for me undoubtedly came from John Boyega, he excelled in his sensitive portrayal of Melvin Dismukes, a principled man who thinks of others before himself. It was great to see two young up-and-coming actors show real talent in some difficult roles.
I’ll give Detroit a solid 4.5/5 for its gripping story, great cast and atmospheric soundtrack. I only mark it down as I felt there could have been slightly more character build up to create more emotional connections. I would recommend watching this film, it is a riveting depiction of American history and police brutality which is sadly still a very present issue even now 50 years on.
If you’ve seen it already, tell us what you thought, comment below or chat to us on Twitter.