Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Detroit is set against the backdrop of the 1967 race riots in the titular Motor City, when a police raid of an unlicensed bar sent the city swirling into chaos and violence. And while the explosive events depicted in the just-released first trailer happened 50 years ago, they could just as easily be ripped from today’s headlines of unarmed black men dying at the hands of white cops.
With The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow managed to distill two enormous historical events—the war in Iraq and the hunt for Bin Laden—down to a granular level by focusing on the experiences of one or two individuals. Here, that person is John Boyega, who plays a security guard trying to navigate the Algiers Motel incident, where an innocent prank led to a tense standoff between law enforcement and a group of young black people.
Bigelow directs from a script by Mark Boal, who also wrote Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, which you may recall made Bigelow the first female director to win the Oscar for Best Director. By the looks of it, she may have another one just around the corner.
Detroit also stars John Krasinski, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, and Anthony Mackie, and hits theaters August 4. Watch the gripping first trailer above.