What's missing from Bigelow's film is not sensitivity but nuance. Her characters never come alive, moving through the film less as people than entries in a sociology textbook.
Even though it's based on an episode that occurred half a century ago, it feels like [Bigelow's] timeliest movie yet.
Angelica Jade Basti�n
Detroit was directed, written, produced, shot, and edited by white creatives who do not understand the weight of the images they hone in on with an unflinching gaze.
It is not an easy watch, and it is an essential one.
The film's unflinching gaze on a lawless night will likely be politicized, but calling Detroit anti-police misses the mark. The question Detroit begs is, in a democratic nation, to whom does the law apply?
Dramatically relentless and emotionally shattering, it brings news from a turbulent past that casts a baleful light on America's troubled present.
The filmmakers are less successful at explaining the social context of the riot or portraying the aftermath of the violence, though these shortcomings are mitigated somewhat by the strong performances, particularly from John Boyega.
Tense, excruciating and entirely necessary ...
An artfully frazzled mosaic of suffering, putting the audience through the wringer in the name of truth, injustice and what many see, still, as the American way with police brutality.