Director: Kathryn Bigelow.
Starring: John Boyega, Algee Smith, Anthony Mackie. USA 2017. 143 mins.
Never afraid to tackle tendentious subjects, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) now set their sharp sights on the events of 1967 Detroit, which sparked the worst race riots in American history. The action is centred on the Algiers Motel on a sweltering hot July night, where a random shot from a starting pistol brought in the National Guard and a large number of police sharpshooters. Three black men were left dead and several more brutally beaten; a black security guard, Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega, Star Wars’ Finn), tried desperately to mediate between his white superiors and an enraged African-American community. Freighted with characteristic dramatic intensity and shot with a gritty realism, Bigelow’s latest is a timely reminder of the deep and potentially lethal divisions in American society.
Read Adam Smith's Picturehouse Spotlight article.