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Detroit (2017)

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Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds.


Kathryn Bigelow


Mark Boal
1,975 ( 310)
5 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Chalk ... Officer Frank
Mason Alban ... Police Sergeant James
Bennett Deady Bennett Deady ... Police Officer Bill
Andrea Eversley Andrea Eversley ... Dancer
Michael Jibrin ... Vietnam Vet
Khris Davis ... Blind Pig Patron
Tokunbo Joshua Olumide Tokunbo Joshua Olumide ... Dave
Daniel Washington ... Blind Pig Bouncer
Amari Cheatom ... Undercover Cop
Tyler James Williams ... Leon
Laz Alonso ... Congressman Conyers
Benz Veal ... Nate Conyers
Angel Blaise ... Young Kid #1
Lance Law Lance Law ... Young Kid #2
Jaleel Sanders Jaleel Sanders ... Young Kid #3


A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest RACE riots in United States history. The story is centred around the Algiers Motel incident, which occurred in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1967, during the racially charged 12th Street Riot. It involves the death of three black men and the brutal beatings of nine other people: seven black men and two white women.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

racism | police | singing | motel | fear | See All (468) »


It's Time We Knew. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

4 August 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Detroit: Zona de conflicto See more »


Box Office


$34,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$350,190, 30 July 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,790,139, 12 October 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The majority of the film and all of the Algiers sequences were shot in chronological order. See more »


When protesters are seen running down 12th Street, you can see mobile phone panels and microwave dishes. These were not out in 1967. See more »


Carl: When you're black, it's almost like having a gun pointing right at your face.
See more »


Referenced in Midnight Screenings: Compliance (2018) See more »


(I Know) I'm Losing You
Written by Cornelius Grant, Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr.) and Norman Whitfield
Performed by The Temptations
Courtesy of Motown Records
Under license from Universal Music Enteprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Bigalow's latest is a film of its time... and unfortunately still current.
9 August 2017 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

Katheryn Bigelow's new film should make you angry. It made me angry. As this year's Selma (on steroids) the film is an ode to how incidents can get out of hand: at a macro level we see how a stubborn chained door triggers a series of riots 50 years ago that reduced the 'Motor Town' to a war zone; at a micro level we see how a childish prank turns to a terrifying ordeal for the guests of the Algiers Motel.

While I was aware of the historical context of the Detroit riots, the Motel incident was new to me. How accurate is the film? Not very, from the many comments made online and from diversions in the story to what's reported on the 'official' wiki page. But what's clear is that the facts of what occurred have been refracted through the multiple lenses of the police, the victims, the state police, the troopers and the legal teams arguing those facts. So no one can be sure anymore. 

Bigelow - particularly as a white women - is brave to make this film. You would like to think that, after 50 years, American society has 'grown up' somewhat but, after the recent police-on-black incidents in places including Ferguson, Baltimore and Charlotte, that is clearly not the case. So this is a rather incendiary picture: as a white liberal, I was angry; as a black person I would be furious. This hardly pours 'oil on troubled waters'.  

But enough of the political context: what's the film like? The answer is tense: very tense!

The riots are wonderfully staged with masterful cinematography (by Barry Ackroyd, "The Hurt Locker", "Captain Phillips") that blends filmed footage with documentary footage (cleverly upscaled for the big screen) such that you often can't see the seams. Once in the annex of the motel the film becomes grippingly claustrophobic as the racist cop Krauss (Will Poulter) becomes the king - no, the dictator - of all he surveys. Here the film editing and sound design is superb, and it would be astonishing if these disciplines are not up for Oscars for this work. 

It is difficult to single out specific acting performances, since this is a fine ensemble performance (a One Mann's Movies award prediction:  the The Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture). But I will reference a few: unknown Algee Smith owns the role of Larry Reed - lead singer of Motown group 'The Dramatics' - showing how the events of the night sapped his enthusiasm for life; Jack Reynor extends his impressive CV (after "Sing Street" and "Free Fire") as the most hapless of Krauss's cronies; and John Boyega ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens") delivers a Poitier-level of screen presence as fish-out-of-water security guard Dismukes. A mid- film twist in the film concerning his character (at least as written and portrayed) delivers a powerful kick to the gut that Boyega acts beautifully.

But the starring role goes to Poulter as the malignant police officer Krauss. With a resume as diverse as "Son of Rambo", "We're the Millers" and "The Revenant", Poulter is making it into the top tier of young movie actors. As Krauss he is 100% believable.

I loved the first two thirds of the film: gripping, thought-provoking and scary, but with entertaining elements of the Motown scene, through the eyes of 'The Dramatics", thrown in to add humanity and context. If it had finished then, I would have been happy:  10*, no problem. Unfortunately Bigelow and her standard screenwriter Mark Boal ("The Hurt Locker", "Zero Dark Thirty") rather over-egg the pudding in the final reels, making the film over-long and undoing some of the previous good work. The film sprawls into multiple different areas including courtroom scenes, mourning  families (introducing brand new characters), a Larry Reed story and related Dramatics fall-out, with only the latter storyline being really welcome.

This is an important film, and will no doubt feature strongly in the Awards season.  It is also, notwithstanding its flaws, a very good film that was a hard watch but impressive. Recommended.

(For the graphical version of this review, please visit bob-the-movie- man.com. Thanks.)

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