Fifty years is a long time. Unfortunately, it has not been long enough to distance America from the depicted in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. There’s Motown music in the background and the cars look old, but otherwise, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single moment of the movie that doesn’t crackle with contemporary relevance. Bigelow’s direction is as frenetic as it has ever been, one-upping the verisimilitude she showed in The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. This has become a popular stylistic choice for hard-hitting stories that straddle the line between drama and thriller, from United 93 to Children Of Men.
Bigelow’s latest film falls into this sub-genre, technically, though I’m not sure either “drama” or “thriller” is the best descriptor. Detroit is a horror movie, tense and relentless and deeply upsetting.