The topic of race has been prevalent in the US for many years and the complexity of this subject is often explored in cinema. Director and Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow explores the historic Detroit riots which took place during the summer of 1967. Previously Kathryn Bigelow had attempted to shed light on taboo topics such as the war in the Middle East in her acclaimed films The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.The $34 million historic thriller drama, Detroit, offers commentary on what may seem to be one of the more sensitive subjects in America while featuring a slew of well-known actors in addition to those upcoming. The cast includes John Boyega (Star Wars: The force Awakens, Attack the Block), Will Poulter (Revenant, The Maze Runner), Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War, 8 miles) and Algee Smith (The New Edition Story).
The Detroit film was released in the US on the 4th of August after a premier in the state of Detroit and was released in the UK on the 25th of August. The film is still being released internationally and aims to be released worldwide by the end of 2017. The film’s opening weekend saw it make a return of (the film made $7,125,601) over $7 million, however, this number has risen to $15million and is anticipated to continue increasing as the film releases around the world. The film presently stands at a 7.6 rating on IMDB and maintains a score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.The plot centres on the unrest on July 25th in 1967 due to the anarchy, which had taken place all over the city. This ultimately leads to a raid on the Algiers Motel where the casts are extensive physical interrogation by the Detroit police, Michigan state police, and National Guard as a response to gun shots sounding off from the motel’s direction.
Although the majority of the film seems to focuses on the night of the raid and the interrogation by the police, Kathryn Bigelow also attempts to display that there are two sides both sides of any clash. Kathryn Bigelow also shows an attention to detail in highlighting the people affected by the anarchy that ensued and the trial, which followed after the Algiers Motel incident.
Modern day America may be familiar with the themes explored in Detroit of race as the topic of race relations has become more prevalent after the election of controversial figure Donald Trump. However, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit focuses shifting responsibility onto a vast amount of individuals. She has instead aimed to portray individuals as three-dimensional characters with feelings and reason behind their actions whether they appear to be black or white.One of the central opportunities, which the film attempts to show, is the complexity of the trial, which followed after the night on July 25th.
In the court scenes, Kathryn Bigelow aims to show how intricate it is to prove the discrimination, which witnesses are claiming, occurred. This may have been done intentionally by Kathryn Bigelow to emphasise the sharp contrast between 60s America and modern day, where the average person may be able to video and document any incident, which happens.Individuals may aim to be more proactive as they have more resources at their disposal. This contrast seemingly reinforces the idea; the use of social media and the internet allows people to voice their opinion and interact with people from all over the world. A notable difference from those in the 1960’s potentially indicating how far society has progressed.
There have been other successful films, which focus on the power dynamic in America, which aim to begin the conversation about race and the police including Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and 2015’s summer blockbuster Straight Outta Compton. Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit may be set to join the ranks of these well-received films if its international releases prove to be a success.
How has society taken steps in the correct direction to support ethnicity?