A family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.


Review: Detroit at Chapter Arts.

We haven't been to see a movie at Chapter in a while, so it was great to go back to review Detroit as well as check out their latest art exhibition and have a sneaky drink at their lovely (and very friendly) bar. I'm always super excited to sit in the luxurious comfort of Cinema Screen 2, it's such a delightful experience with its plush chairs and twinkly ceiling lights.

When I read about Detroit I was keen to see it, but also slightly worried how upset it may cause me to be. The story is based upon events in Detroit during the riots in 1967 and focuses upon the racial attack of a group of young men and women by a group of police officers, ultimately ending in the death of three innocent people.

The film opens with the unfolding riots, and some pretty hard to watch scenes of violence and abuse. I could feel the tension but also the frustration of the people of Detroit. Soon we meet several characters, including unruly and racist police officer Krauss (Will Poulter), security guard Dismukes (John Boyega) and singer Larry (Algee Smith) And his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore). Later we meet the other characters destined to be part of this horrendous tale, including Aubrey (Gbenga Akinnagbe) and Carl (Jason Mitchell), who shoots the starter pistol and spooks the police on the night of July 25th 1967.

We then follow the story as it leads to the fateful night at the Algiers Motel, where the officers shoot and kill 3 innocent people purely because of the colour of their skin. The storyline was incredibly well played out, giving us chance to get to know the characters and their stories, which obviously only made the film even more devastating. 

All the way through I felt pretty on edge, it was like a constant threat was there, much like the scene where Carl explains what it feels like to be black and living in Detroit; like there's a gun constantly pointing at your head. I really feel the film makes you feel this way, for me there wasn't a moment where I felt safe, even as a viewer. It completely unnerved me, but I think this is its intention. It's important for people to understand this feeling, but this feeling is NOT and never will be okay.

Warren and I have no tolerance for racism, even today (50 years later) this kind of attitude and hatred towards others persists, and I for one, will never understand it. Being brought up with books and films such as To Kill a Mockingbird has only strengthened this intolerance to such injustice and prejudice, so I admit there were times during the film that I wanted to reach in and help.

The acting was spot on, with the right amount of tension between characters. I can't imagine how hard it would have been for an actor performing as a racist police officer, but somebody had to do it and it fell to Will Poulter (We're the Millers) - and what a job he did! I actually detested him throughout the film, his lack of remorse and his desperate attempt to save his own skin was incredibly putrid and shocking.

The film is directed in such a way that the tension is truly relentless, and with trigger happy Krauss you never really know who's going to die next. I admit I felt tense during the whole thing, and I didn't leave with any real sense of good feeling. I watched and listened, I felt angry and sad, and I realised that the world hasn't moved forward all that much.

I really loved Smith's character Larry, how he transforms from a man on a mission to become a star to following his integrity and heart by turning down the spotlight when its offered to him. His story is sad and beautiful, and I could empathise with his reaction to the events.

It was a relief to see the kind souls within the film; people who see people with different coloured skin as equal people. Because it's true that everyone is different, but everyone is equal too, and this attitude and oppression simply has no place in this world. These heroes are kind, non-judgemental and without them this kind of story would be swept under the carpet.

As Warren and I walked away from Chapter last night, he said the most righteous and poignant thing I've ever heard. He said, 'We shouldn't live in a world where we need heroes...' And you know what? He's right. We should live in a world where everyone is treated fairly and accepted as a person no matter the colour of their skin or their sexuality or religion or whatever makes a person 'unworthy' in the eyes of the ignorant.

I found this article incredibly interesting and heartbreaking, so I'd suggest checking it out before or after you've seen the movie. I really implore you to go and see Detroit, then get out and shout about it and make the world a better, kinder and more accepting place. Because if we don't, who will?

Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.


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