Director Kathryn Bigelow is back with a crunching real-life account of the Detroit race riots
A BRUISING DRAMA set around 1967’s Algiers Motel incident, in which the police’s brutal response to reports of a shooting fed into the city’s bloody riots and led to a famous injustice, Detroit boasts a director making up for lost time. Five years on from Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow has delivered an urgent, timely comment on American policing and race relations inspired by more recent civil unrest. “I came across this story as I witnessed the aftermath of Ferguson and the fallout that spread across the country,” she tells Empire. “[This film] illustrated my frustration with what I saw as a cycle of injustice.”
Bigelow has assembled a youthful, dynamic cast to do the job, spearheaded by a pair of talented Brits. John Boyega plays security guard Melvin Dismukes, while Will Poulter is set for a career-defining turn as brutal Detroit cop Krauss. “I saw a strength and prescience in Will that I knew would ignite the character,” Bigelow notes. “He’s capable of highly nuanced performances that make it difficult to take your eyes off him.”
Her screenwriter and Zero Dark Thirty collaborator Mark Boal cut no corners, either. Court records were dusted off and police statements scoured as he set about discovering how the violent incident played out. Three eyewitnesses to the events themselves (including Dismukes) were asked on set. Expect that verisimilitude to burn from every fierce frame.