In a summer movie season packed with the usual escapist fare, one movie will ask us to not turn away. Detroit is Kathryn Bigelow’s unflinching look at the 1967 racially charged riots in the titular city, with a focus on the events at the Algiers motel where three black men were murdered by white cops.
The new trailer positions the film as a fact-based historical thriller, relying on stock news footage to provide context for what it calls “one of the most terrifying events in American history.” But while watching John Boyega’s security guard get interrogated by racist cops with sinister motives, we’re struck at how little has changed in the 50 years since the events in question. Bigelow’s film is as much an indictment of our past, as it is a window into our present.
Detroit marks the third time Bigelow has teamed with Mark Boal (a former writer for Playboy), who also wrote her Oscar-winning films The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Based on the riveting new trailer, lightning looks to have struck a third time for what has become one of the most dynamic partnerships in Hollywood.
If Detroit scores with both audiences and critics, Bigelow could join Patty Jenkins in making the cutthroat summer movie season the province of ultra-talented women directors.
We’ll find out when Detroit hits theaters August 4.