Friday, April 14, 2017

Kathryn Bigelow Returns with a Powerful First Trailer for "Detroit"

Scene from Detroit
It has been five years since director Kathryn Bigelow released a movie. That was the phenomenal Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicled the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. While it goes down as one of the more controversial movies of the decade, it is also an intricately paced procedural style through obsession and what fulfillment comes from it. While her recent films have dealt with war overseas, Detroit looks to be capturing the war at home in America. The first trailer shows her tense pacing mixing with her powerful imagery of violence and misunderstanding. Much like her previous films, it's one to look out for this year. It's also probably going to be full of great controversy.

It should be noted that I have a personal bias towards Bigelow, especially in her recent work. Even if I think that it lacks a lot of factual evidence, I think that Zero Dark Thirty is one of the best films of the decade along with being the quintessential film about the lingering impact of 9/11. It's hard to not be captivated by Jessica Chastain's powerful performance, which captures the desperation in not having easy answers. Bigelow manages to make things proceed almost in a teasing fashion while never making the story dull. The final scene in which soldiers invade the compound is also full of tension and proves that she's capable of directing action and emotion with the best of them. It's just a shame that Bigelow got shut out of that year's Best Director's race, likely due to its controversial use of violence.

With that said, anything that she does next would be high on my list of films to watch out for. It's also great to see her teaming up with indie powerhouse Annapurna for her latest film. I am sure that it will have an unflinching view of police brutality as well as the people who provoke them. She has never struck me as someone who takes sides when discussing her subjects. Yes, one is more sympathetic, but she doesn't hold back from the flaws. Considering that she's been on a career high since The Hurt Locker, I am personally holding hope for Detroit - which may be one of the first genuine Oscar-worthy films to premiere a trailer this year.

Check out the trailer below:

Looks really good. Here's the plot according to IMDb:
A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest citizen uprisings in the United States' history.
It's a prescient subject, and one that's probably going to find controversy amid recent events. I'm sure that some will find its depiction of race relations as being problematic, even with it rooted in history. With that said, it may join the ranks of Selma as being a film that transcends its period piece status and tells a story that feels relevant. The trailer alone already feels tense, as if it's only the spark before the fuse ignites. It makes one wonder what else is going to happen. Considering that Bigelow is good at building to those powerful moments, it's going to be exciting to see how she directs this film.

Speaking as it is April, it is more than too early to figure out how this could play out in the Oscar race. With that said, Bigelow's name carries a strong reputation. For one, she's (unfortunately as it is) the only woman to win Best Director. Her reputation is cemented and one can only imagine that either John Boyega or Anthony Mackie will deliver powerhouse performances on par with Zero Dark Thirty's Chastain or The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner. After Moonlight won Best Picture, the race is going to get a lot more interesting and unexpected than it has been for decades. Hopefully Detroit delivers on its potential to be a great and timely film worthy of nominations.

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