It’s not nearly as good as Zero Dark Thirty, though few things are. The timing seemed right for a hard-hitting racial drama last Summer, but Summer audiences didn’t really want a difficult, searching feel-bad movie that’s all questions and no answers. I actually saw it in the theater, but I sort of get that. However, Detroit is definitely a movie that’s going to be rediscovered. It’s really skillful in creating a nightmare scenario that’s much more horrifying than your typical jump scare-based horror film (which typically contain little to no actual horror). Just such sustained tension for so long with no release, which gets uncomfortable to watch after a while. You could make an argument that it belongs in the extreme cinema canon, even though it doesn’t contain any gimmicky serial killers or anything like that, just reality. It’s definitely an interesting idea on how to make this sort of movie, though one that has “not for everyone” built in. It hits you hard without needing to resort to Sorkinian lectures of what race is all about. Unfortunately, audiences seemed to want those lectures, or maybe it didn’t have the genre trappings of Get Out (which was, also, really good). This made it a more difficult sell I guess. But Detroit is good and definitely should be seen. I really wish they hadn’t cast John Krasinski as a generic defense lawyer at the end. No offense to the man, but it felt like pure stuntcasting to put a recognizable face like that in that kind of role. Come on, Kathryn, that’s the sort of move that Oliver Stone would try!

No matter what else she does, this remains Bigelow’s crowning directorial moment:

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