Today I saw a film called Detroit. There is a great review of the movie by Angelica Jade Bastien that you should read.
As a black person just one generation away from the events of this film, I felt disturbed. Although the review above explains why, I also want you to hear it directly from my “voice.”
Black people are no strangers to trauma. Historical films about the black experience will inevitably contain scenes that could be triggering to black people. Most of my favorite films do, from The Color Purple to The Birth of a Nation.
But Detroit is different. The violence in other films, whether made by black filmmakers or by white filmmakers, is either graphic to prove a point previously unproven, or is restrained in order to not fetishize the violence.
Detroit makes the violence into a kind of pornography. It is not transformative, artistically or emotionally.
Why do we need this film when we are already living a Trayvon Martin reality fifty years later?
Black people do not need to see this film.
White people only need to see this film if they’ve been asleep for the last fifty years. But when you do see it, don’t be fooled by the ill-placed “See, there are good white people” tropes.
One thing I will say, though: this is an all-star cast of some of the best young black performers of our generation. Special shout outs to Ephraim Sykes, Malcolm David Kelley, Tyler James Williams, Samira Wiley, and Gbenga Akinnagbe, among many others. Their performances are outstanding and I am at least glad that some black people got paid.
But otherwise, this movie was a big trigger for the woke. Skip it.