2010 was the year of Kathryn Bigelow. She became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director and her breakout indie The Hurt Locker scored a surprise win for Best Picture. The film, about a bomb defusing team in Iraq, is a master-class in tension and a gripping character study to boot. Bigelow had proven her talent and the future was suddenly limitless.
But even Academy Award-winning directors are capable of colossal misfires. Case in point: Detroit. The title promises a sweeping portrait of a city. Instead, the film documents an isolated incident at the Algier’s Motel involving a racist police officer (Will Poulter) inflicting sadistic mind-games on a group of mostly black victims in an attempt to maintain law and order in the face of the 1967 riots. This is a movie about the black experience written and directed by white people. The lack of color shows up from beginning to end. Film critic Angelica Bastien sums up Detroit best when she states that the movie is a “hollow spectacle, displaying rank racism and countless deaths that has nothing to say about race, the justice system, police brutality, or the city that gives it its title.”
Join Jon and Tim as they discuss how Detroit measures up to Do the Right Thing, why animation in a live-action movie is a bad idea, what caused the Detroit riots according to white people, who fell asleep during the film, the danger of playing both sides in the face of injustice, why the title is misleading, the comfort of viewing racism as isolated incidents, and how the movie relates to current events.