Amid the summer's slew of $200 million blockbusters, Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit is a refreshing change of pace, a rigorous docudrama that aims to capture the very real terror that unfolded during Detroit's 12th Street Riot in 1967.
True to form, Bigelow has turned in yet another bracingly intense, immensely compelling drama that's an absolute must-see for serious film fans, even if you might want to have something happy lined up to do afterwards.
The film definitely has its issues, but the Best Director-winning filmmaker's fierce commitment to her subject and meticulous eye for detail makes this the most uncommonly accomplished of movies based on real events. It certainly didn't deserve to bomb at the box office, that's for sure.
Whether it performs well as a fringe Best Picture candidate or gets swept under the rug for releasing before Oscar season truly kicks off, Bigelow has delivered an exceptionally well-mounted historical drama that'll stay with you for a long, long time...
It's certainly not a damning indictment against the film to say that it's not quite up to the same five-star standard of director Kathryn Bigelow's two previous films, the Best Picture-winning The Hurt Locker and Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty.
While Detroit itself may very well end up being nominated for the big one, it just doesn't feel quite as tight as those movies overall, in part due to its sprawling nature and Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal's clear struggle to find a definitive end-point for this story (while Zero Dark Thirty in particular seemed much more confident and definite in this regard).
Again, though, this is still a great movie any way you cut it, but if you've got sky-high expectations from the director's last two films, you might want to just drop them down a peg.