Sunday, August 05, 2018

Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit

Finally caught up with Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit the other day (popping up as a $5 DVD on the sale racks of some London Drugs, note). There's some very interesting criticism of the film out there, say by Richard Brody (whose likening it to Schindler's List, which he describes as "another film about atrocities that is itself an atrocity," is apt); or Armond White, who doesn't have to work quite as hard as he sometimes does to point out problems with the film. I don't disagree with either writer, but was still impressed by aspects of Bigelow's artistry in Detroit. I haven't loved anything she's done since Blue Steel, but had respect for the film as a confrontational, demanding work - was at times even thinking of Peter Watkins' Punishment Park. It's a problematic film, to be sure, but quite intense and well-crafted; the questions about the movie have more to do with its underlying morality, as both above-linked reviews suggest, than its craft - though note that some scenes are extremely hard to watch. And it's bothersome that the racist white cops are made the more interesting characters in the film, are the ones who command the narrative, especially since there are so many other possibilities in the film...

...anyhow, especially with Spike Lee's The BlacKkKlansman opening (I believe) next week, it makes for interesting, provocative viewing. 

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