Detroit reviews

dws1982
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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:34 pm

For what it's worth, I saw this at a 12:30 showing and was the only person in a theatre that seated about 120.

I was very mixed on this. I read one person describe this as a liberal version of 13 Hours and I think that's an apt description. I texted a friend the following:
First 45 minutes: 4/10
Next 60 minutes: 9/10
Next 25 minutes: 5/10
Last 5 minutes: 10/10


Part of the problem I had with it was that, unlike The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, there's not a protagonist to latch on to. Whatever flaws those movies had, they both had unique protagonists who you don't see too often in movies. Here, there's not really anyone the film puts out as a protagonist, and the characters who make up the ensemble aren't anything all that distinctive. I thought the first act was just a mess--jumping around trying to establish storylines and characters, without really establishing much at all. It didn't make a great deal of sense, and it was at times as preachy and didactic as Crash, just better made. Once it settled down into the conflict at the hotel, I was pretty riveted. Even when the guy shot off the air pistol it was with an air of tragedy because you knew what was about to happen. I do think that the police were right to respond, and at least check things out at the hotel, because from their perspective they had no way of knowing if the shots were "real" or not, but you can't think of a worse way that the response could've gone--just a perfect storm of tension with the worst possible officers getting in on things at the hotel. But it was a very riveting, often disgusting sequence, especially since Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, and Ben O'Toole are really good--and really human--as the three cops. You really do get a sense that they're varying degrees of racist, young and dumb, and really enjoying their first chance at a true power trip. Those performances make a good point of contrast with the totally false work from John Krasinski. It's a terrible performance, from an actor who seems to be trying with every fiber of his being to make sure that the audience realizes that he is not the character he's playing, so there's nothing approaching a believable human being there. Final five minutes ended the movie on a completely unexpected, cathartic note; for whatever reason I was kind of expecting a different gospel song (one called "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"), but the one they had the character was a perfect choice, I think.

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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:50 pm

I think Bigelow/Boal might argue that they were putting the audience into Larry's mindset -- I was momentarily uncertain whether the cop would shoot or be helpful, and this is the suspicion Larry won't be able shake for, it seems, the rest of his life. But, yes, what you say, as well.

I had my doubts about the film doing satisfactory business once I start hearing people whisper about it being unendurable. It reminds me a bit of Casualties of War -- another late summer release that got quite favorable reviews but died at the box office, because it was centered on an atrocity. Films dealing with such things are very hard to get people to see. (Can anyone think of an exception?) Supposedly, audience scores among those who went are quite strong, but there's a severe upward limit on patronage.

The Original BJ
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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:35 pm

Okri wrote:c) Not gonna lie, when the cop takes Larry to the hospital, my first thought was "#NotAllCops"


Oh, totally -- that felt inserted into the screenplay simply to assuage accusations that the film was anti-police. And it was totally unnecessary, because other cop characters -- i.e. Poulter's authorities -- are clearly shown to be anti-racist and by-the-book in a manner that felt much more organic to the story.

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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:29 pm

I largely echo Tee and BJ on this one.

a) The one idea that Boal and Bigelow played around with that I thought was interesting and worthwhile was the necessity of performance. It's not extremely well done, but one character dies because he can't perform a lie, another (Algee Smith's character) has to withdraw from white spaces because he can't imaging doing it any more (to afraid too?), whereas one calibrates accordingly.

b) I really have no idea what the box office should have been for it, but the haul I saw was unspectacular.

c) Not gonna lie, when the cop takes Larry to the hospital, my first thought was "#NotAllCops"

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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:16 pm

Detroit is another movie, like Dunkirk, that I found extremely well-made, without necessarily thinking the script had a ton in the way of fresh thematic ideas. The Detroit riots weren't an event I had much familiarity with before seeing the movie, and I think the opening scenes have a bit of "whose story are we following here?" as it introduces quite a number of different players and story threads. But once it settles on its major set piece -- the Algiers motel raid -- it becomes a thoroughly gripping account of a police abuse situation that just avalanches wildly out of control. At this point, Bigelow is beyond master at staging a sequence like this, and her ratchet-tight command of the slowly mounting horrors, combined with some great specific details (the black security guard who's trying to cool things down but trying to stay out of hot water himself, the way the cops use the veneer of protecting the white girls to assault them, the way the entire affair lurches into even more horrifying territory with a simple quiet moment) give the film the same sense of verisimilitude that made The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty such compelling works.

But -- and I don't intend this as a knock on Mark Boal, who deserves to share in the credit for what the movie does well -- I don't think this material is as revelatory as the previous two Bigelow-Boal films. Because the violence perpetrated upon black Americans by white police officers has been such a horrific part of the news over the past few years, artists have understandably sought to find ways to deal with it in their work. The result is, a good number of films and tv shows that have addressed this topic (including a project I'm a part of that is filming literally at this moment). Which means, I'm going to want a movie like Detroit to dig a little deeper into what it's saying about this subject than what can often feel simply like a depiction of the horror of white cops abusing black bodies and getting away with it. I found Detroit's depiction engaging, honest, and moving... but I didn't much feel like I was seeing a take I hadn't seen before. Which had me leaving the theater feeling like I'd seen something effective, but sort of limited in conception.

The actors across the board are quite solid, but I did think Will Poulter was a bit of a stand-out. It's hard to portray base racism without coming off like a cartoon, but I thought he did so quite well -- his reaction to the moment when he realizes he's completely lost control of the situation shows a layer of vulnerability which rather expertly conveys that even the ugliest of behaviors can often come from otherwise ordinary people who are no less human than the rest of us.

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Re: Detroit reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:17 pm

Detroit is very well-made and powerful, but I'm not sure there's much to say about it. Bigelow does her typically excellent job of putting you in the middle of the action, and she tells a gripping story of, really, a small single event within the riots. But she doesn't find any grand context to make the film more than its content (apart from the self-evident fact that, in too many ways, we haven't moved an inch in the 50 years since). I picked up a hint of possible irony -- that civil liberties worked to the advantage of the wrong people involved in the incident -- but mostly I just watched it as a you-are-there re-enactment of a lost and lamentable episode from recent history.

As for Oscar hopes -- I have no idea. It probably depends on how successful (or not) the film is at the box office. It's fairly grim subject matter -- which is to say, it has none of the uplift of things like The Imitation Game or even Hacksaw Ridge -- and some people seem to be find it grueling to sit through. I had no such issues (and I worried about that, after my reaction to The Hurt Locker), but if that becomes the accepted wisdom, the film could struggle to get traction. Probably the most likely prize attention would come to the editing, and to one of the supporting actors -- Will Poulter as the vilest policeman, or Algee Smith as the singer drawn into the nightmare (he has the strongest character arc).

I don't want to undersell this. It's, as I said, quite powerful, and I came out of it happy to have at last seen a fully nutritious meal after six months of the opposite. It's just not as major a piece of work as Zero Dark Thirty. But I certainly think everyone here should want to see it.

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Detroit reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:18 pm

Had it not come right in the wake of Dunkirk, this film would probably be the event of the summer for serious moviegoers. A bit more mixed reception, but leaning strong.


http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/de ... 202502122/

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/detr ... ntID=40296

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ew-1023656


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