• James Rutherford

'Detroit': A Searing Depiction of the Infamous 12th Street Riot and Ensuing Algiers Motel Incident


Movie poster for the 2017 film Detroit

Detroit (2017) is a searing historical crime drama depicting the events surrounding the "12th Street Riot" and the ensuing "Algiers Motel Incident" during the racially contentious summer of 1967 in Detroit, Michigan. The storyline unfolds after the Detroit Police Department executes a raid on an underground bar in the city's Near West Side neighborhood—such raids considered racially-biased by many local black residents.


As the police assiduously detain all black club attendees, a crowd soon forms on the street and commences hurling projectiles and looting local storefronts. The Michigan Army National Guard and US Army are both called in to combat the escalating violence, forcing musicians Larry Reed (Algee Smith) and Fred Temple (Jacob Latimore) to seek shelter in the local Algiers Motel. It's at the Algiers that Reed and Temple meet Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell), Aubrey Pollard, Jr. (Gbenga Akinnagbe), Michael Clark (Malcolm David Kelley) and Lee Forsythe (Peyton Alex Smith)—fellow lodgers who will soon suffer from a shockingly malicious incursion by Detroit police officers.


Written and produced by Mark Boal with frequent collaborator Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) behind the lens, Detroit is a harrowing yet essential viewing experience. The highly diverse cast delivers on every level, with special recognition for John Boyega as security guard Melvin Dismukes and Will Poulter as Officer Philip Krauss—both delivering stunningly assured (and wildly divergent) portrayals of key characters in the ensuing violence. Vivid, pulse-pounding, and masterfully constructed, it's an eye-opening recapitulation of one of the most tragic events in modern American history.

 

Watch the trailer: