Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

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DarkImbecile
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Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:12 am

Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit

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Last edited by DarkImbecile on Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#2 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:16 am

Was this based on a comic book?

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#3 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:23 am

That's what I get for posting on my phone! Can someone move this to Trailers for Upcoming Films, please?

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#4 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:15 pm

Is Annapurna now their own company? It seems like they're always co-producing movies with more established studios.

The uneasy tone the trailer establishes reminds me of what I said in the Jackie thread, that now movies about the 60's are going to be much more allegorical than nostalgic. And quite possible more "realistic" (I hate using that word to describe movies, but for lack of something better I guess it's accurate) too.

Kind of funny that the last time she did a movie with some of these themes, it was Strange Days, which still holds up despite some elements which should immediately date it but it's not to it's detriment.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#5 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:23 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote: ...The uneasy tone the trailer establishes reminds me of what I said in the Jackie thread, that now movies about the 60's are going to be much more allegorical than nostalgic. And quite possible more "realistic"...
I'll play devil's advocate here just for fun and suggest that Hidden Figures (2016) is more nostalgic for its era than realistic whereas Shampoo (1975) uses 1968 as allegorical and is not at all nostalgic. With the references to Motown in the trailer, I bet Detroit will have some nostalgia factor, but I like what I'm seeing.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#6 Post by willoneill » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:35 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Is Annapurna now their own company? It seems like they're always co-producing movies with more established studios.
Detroit is the first film they're releasing themselves.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#7 Post by ianungstad » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:23 pm

Detroit is co-produced with MGM. Annapurna is co-producer and distributor in the US, while MGM will handle international distribution. MGM just signed a long term co-production/international distribution deal with Annapurna.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#8 Post by aox » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:01 am

Really excited to see a right-wing capitalist perspective of this riveting topic.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#9 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:48 am

aox wrote:Really excited to see a right-wing capitalist perspective of this riveting topic.
All right, I'll bite. Please elaborate on how you know this will be the case for this film.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#10 Post by aox » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:09 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
aox wrote:Really excited to see a right-wing capitalist perspective of this riveting topic.
All right, I'll bite. Please elaborate on how you know this will be the case for this film.
I've seen her previous films.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:09 pm

Who knew Near Dark was such a nefarious reactionary work? Seriously though, if we're talking about The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, I felt the opposite. There's certainly been a lively debate on this over the latter film.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#12 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:25 pm

Detroit manages to both be infused with the uniquely visceral intensity that defines Bigelow's best work while also being unconventionally structured in such a way that makes the absence of that intensity in some scenes feel in the moment more prominent - and like more of a problem for the film - than I think it actually is upon reflection (and hopefully upon a second viewing). The film is far more ambitious and complicated than The Hurt Locker, and while it doesn't overcome its structural challenges as expertly as Zero Dark Thirty did its own, it achieves enough in its depiction of the rioting and the murders at the Algiers Motel to be seen and discussed on the same level as those films, an outcome which appears increasingly unlikely.

Many have pointed to the post-Algiers scenes as the weakest of the film, but I think this portion succeeds in demonstrating that the monstrously inhumane face of racism we are exposed to in the middle portion is largely possible only because of the unwillingness of white society and the legal structure to acknowledge it at all. In the same final 20 minutes, the coda for what becomes our main protagonist feels earned and genuine while also being straightforward about the lingering effects of trauma.

The actual biggest mistake Bigelow makes is the inclusion of the animated artistic representation of the 20th-century black experience in America that opens the film. Despite Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s involvement in its creation, this history lesson is too shallow and cursory to provide any context to 90% of the audience that would be seeking out an 2-1/2 hour R-rated period film with almost no recognizable actors about racial strife and not particularly famous 'unsolved' murders, and they also undermine the immersive, immediate quality of the opening filmed sequence.

This doesn't read like a strongly positive review so far, but despite the issues noted above and a few irritatingly on-the-nose moments from Mark Boal's script, the majority of the film works exceptionally in establishing the period, the context for the riots and the events in the Algiers, and leveraging the very good to excellent work by the cast to make the anger, uncertainty, and terror of that summer palpable. Bigelow is stretching and developing here in a way that's more interesting than - for example - a revisit to the American wars of the past two decades would have been, and I hope she continues to take these kind of risks, assuming this film's underperformance doesn't drastically limit her options.

For a right-wing capitalist depiction of systemic racism and injustice, it's a film with enough capacity to provoke powerful and divisive responses that I look forward to further discussion about its flaws and successes here and elsewhere.
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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#13 Post by knives » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:29 pm

My impression is that Annapurna doesn't care about making a profit as long as the head likes working with the filmmakers. She also produced two recent Bigelow shorts for example so I imagine this flopping doesn't affect this relationship all that much.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#14 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:36 pm

I hope so, though I would like to see her maybe shake things up regarding her working relationship with Boal if she moves further away from more journalistic films; I maybe didn't emphasize enough that his script is the weakest element here (though I appreciate the difficulty of trying to cobble together recollections and evidence of an event about which much is unclear into a clear narrative that also respects the facts and people involved).

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#15 Post by knives » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:49 pm

Honestly the weakest part of the other two films has been his scripts so that's no shocker. Clearly she's getting something positive out of it, but Boal consistently seems to bring the pictures down to me. Still excited to see this eventually though.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#16 Post by MichaelB » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:32 am

DarkImbecile wrote:I hope so, though I would like to see her maybe shake things up regarding her working relationship with Boal if she moves further away from more journalistic films; I maybe didn't emphasize enough that his script is the weakest element here (though I appreciate the difficulty of trying to cobble together recollections and evidence of an event about which much is unclear into a clear narrative that also respects the facts and people involved).
...while also taking care not to draw any material exclusively from the most comprehensive study of the events, as the film rights to that are very famously not available.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#17 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:46 pm

MichaelB wrote:...while also taking care not to draw any material exclusively from the most comprehensive study of the events, as the film rights to that are very famously not available.
Do you mean this book? (Also how are the rights famously not available? Any prominent examples of filmmakers trying to get the rights?)

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#18 Post by tavernier » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:08 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
MichaelB wrote:...while also taking care not to draw any material exclusively from the most comprehensive study of the events, as the film rights to that are very famously not available.
Do you mean this book? (Also how are the rights famously not available? Any prominent examples of filmmakers trying to get the rights?)
No, it's this book.

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Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#19 Post by MichaelB » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:43 am

Indeed - and John Hersey promised his interviewees that he'd never sell the film rights. Which meant that if there was eyewitness testimony exclusive to the book and the eyewitness in question had since died or was otherwise unable to be consulted by the filmmakers, that was just tough.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#20 Post by Luke M » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:30 pm

So, they made a film based on an event that they can’t use significant source material for?

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#21 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:49 am

Roger Ryan wrote:I'll play devil's advocate here just for fun and suggest that Hidden Figures (2016) is more nostalgic for its era than realistic whereas Shampoo (1975) uses 1968 as allegorical and is not at all nostalgic.
It's hard to make something based on something that happened 7 years ago nostalgic.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#22 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:34 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Roger Ryan wrote:I'll play devil's advocate here just for fun and suggest that Hidden Figures (2016) is more nostalgic for its era than realistic whereas Shampoo (1975) uses 1968 as allegorical and is not at all nostalgic.
It's hard to make something based on something that happened 7 years ago nostalgic.
True, but Lucas managed to do it with a film set only 11 years prior to its release date!

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#23 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:28 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Roger Ryan wrote:I'll play devil's advocate here just for fun and suggest that Hidden Figures (2016) is more nostalgic for its era than realistic whereas Shampoo (1975) uses 1968 as allegorical and is not at all nostalgic.
It's hard to make something based on something that happened 7 years ago nostalgic.
True, but Lucas managed to do it with a film set only 11 years prior to its release date!
It a lot easier to do that if it's a story about growing up, tho'.

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Re: Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017)

#24 Post by Brian C » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:06 am

I saw this today since it was inexplicably brought back to theaters this weekend, and thought it was pretty much a failure. As filmmaking, I think this whole faux-verite docudrama style has gotten to be old hat, or maybe Bigelow just can't pull it off. At any rate, though, I don't think the style matches the narrative all that well. If it had maintained a wider scope of the riots it might have worked better, but when the film turns its focus exclusively to the Algiers Hotel, it breaks down stylistically and feels unnatural and stagey and forced. It reminded me of Greengrass's United 93 actually; that film worked during the FAA sequences but the passenger sequences weren't nearly as effective - it's just an awkward way to film that kind of melodrama.

Anyway, beyond that, I was unsure how much of the film I really believed while I was watching it. I felt my bullshit detector going off throughout, and so I'm unsurprised to read afterwards that the filmmakers had to fill in a lot of the gaps. And this leads me to my principle objection to the film, which is that it's obviously a film obviously designed as political activism, but its argument is hopelessly botched and has no hope of reaching anyone except the proverbial choir (in an amusing and doubtlessly unintentional bit of ironic objective correlative, the film ends with the central character leading an actual church choir).

What I mean is this - there are people (like myself) already convinced that police brutality is a major social justice issue. And there are people at the opposite end of the spectrum who will stand with the cops no matter how obviously awful their behavior is. But most people are in between, not willing to believe the worst about cops but also worried about the so-called "bad apples" who give the entire occupation a bad name. Whatever one thinks of that logic, I think it's pretty clear that it's the dominant outlook on police behavior among white middle-class Americans.

And so. This is a film that fills in the factual gaps by simply assuming that the police acted in the worst possible way at all times, and in ways that are sure to drive people in the middle of that spectrum closer to the blue end. It seems bound to convince people that the left really is anti-cop. I read now that enough of the film's events have been imagined that the filmmakers felt compelled to change the cops' names, which if I had known going in, would have raised huge alarm bells for me. But again, even not knowing any of that (I rarely read much about films before I see them), a lot of this film rang false to me. And I'm one of the choir!

Will Poulter, who plays the worst of the cops, is simply awful in this movie. It's a performance suited more to a sneering Bond villain than a credible police officer. There's barely a moment in the film where he doesn't seem like a crude caricature of a racist, sadistic cop. It's probably not all his fault - I don't doubt, given the way that the character was written, that he was directed into this kind of performance. But it's awful all the same.

Now I want to be clear about what I'm NOT saying - I'm NOT saying that I doubt that the Detroit cops of the era were awful and that the events in the Algiers were horrifically brutal. I'm just saying that I didn't find the recreation of those events as the film portrays them to be very credible. In fact, the film seemed downright simple-minded to me. And if someone like me, who's predisposed to be on the film's side, thinks that, how's it going to play to people less predisposed?

I dunno, maybe I'm coming across as a concern troll here. But it's exactly this kind of thing that sets movements back, and that crystallizes the opinions of people on the fence against those movements. Frankly, I'm glad the film completely tanked and that it hasn't been more widely seen.

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