In 1960’s Detroit Police covertly raid a unlicensed drinking club and in doing so start a riot between themselves and the locals. Shops are looted, windows are smashed and in the ensuing chaos the state governor sends in the national guard and army paratroopers to restore order.
On the very next day policeman Philip Krauss (Will Poulter) shoots and fatally wounds a looter. Unable to file murder charges against him with a city in chaos, he is allowed to remain on active police duty.
Later that night R&B singer Larry Reed (Algee Smith) and his friend Fred Temple (Jacob Latimore) join several others at the Algiers Motel. In the charged atmosphere of a city on the edge, one of the hotel guests fires a starter pistol as a prank out of the window. Thinking it is legitimate gun fire, police arrive led by Krauss.
With everybody lined up against the wall inside, it quickly becomes clear that Krauss has something more sinister to prove than just finding the identity of the shooter.
‘Detroit’ is a historical thriller with its finger on the pulse of both the past and the present.…
Based on the real life events of Algiers Motel incident during Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot, Kathryn Bigelow’s film is a further serious move away from the adrenalin of her earlier ‘Point Break’ origins. Building on the grit and gravity of her Oscar wining ‘Hurt Locker’, ‘Detroit’ is another historical drama that is a timely arrival after similar real-life events.
Fundamentally an ensemble piece with star power in its casting of John Boyega as a nearby sore guard, Anthony Mackie as returning Vietnam veteran and Algee Smith as mellifluous crooner Larry Reed, it is Will Poulter’s nuanced performance as Philip Krauss that binds the story together. In turn both charming and chilling, his character’s mental state inside the deteriorating atmosphere of the Algiers hotel and the rioting outside is a further underlining of this young actor’s incredible talent and versatility. In role that could have also been played by Jeremy Renner, Poulter makes the character his own with a mixture of increased maturity and callous authority. Cast opposite him John Boyega, confidently slips into his role of the peaceful Melvin Dismukes. Arguably underwritten, Boyega convinces as a thoughtful, mature character who both wants and knows how to avoid needless bloodshed.
From its first minutes to its harrowing climax inside the Algiers hotel and the hostile marks left on its occupants afterwards, ‘Detroit’ is a historical thriller with its finger on the pulse of both the past and the present. A convincing drama in the hands of an increasingly accomplished director and a very talented cast, ‘Detroit’ is a taunt, tense drama that is an affecting, claustrophobic detainment in a past that nobody wants repeated.