Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ Is Pretty Much Like A Trip To McDonald’s
We've seen this story before
I don’t really have anything to say about Detroit. It wasn’t bad. Kathryn Bigelow did a good job of telling the story behind the high profile court case following the deaths of three black boys and the racist cops who killed them during the Detroit Riots of 1967.
Still, there is nothing spectacular or unfamiliar about the image of a black body lying face down on the floor with their blood pooling at the feet of a white police officer. There isn’t anything to be said on the subject that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. The only difference is the context, and the only thing significant about the context of Detroit is that it’s an incident from 50 years ago that the general public might not have been familiar with.
Others have raised the question of whether a white filmmaker can do this story justice. Sometimes it’s not a matter of whether a certain filmmaker is right for a certain story. What’s important is that the portrayal is honest and accurate, which Detroit seems to be.
But I couldn’t enjoy watching it. My problem with the film is not the film itself, but with how available and consumable black death has become. It’s like fast food. Detroit gives empathetic white people another reason to say, “I’m an ally. This is fucked up!” And it gives black people a reminder of one of the most terrifying aspects of their existence in America.