Detroit in set during the riots in the 1960's and is based mostly on the Algiers Motel incident in 1967 that saw white police officers victimize several black guests and two white women after armed officers suspect a sniper was shooting at them from the hotel. The sniper they thought was there was only a starter pistol. The gun never surfaced. but the actions of the officers involved were sickening. Using scare tactics to threaten a confession out of the hotel guests. mixed up in the events was part time security guard Melvin, a black man himself who is treated with professional courtesy from police due to his job (I can only imagine things would have been different if he wasn't a guard), Melvin tries to calm the situation down, on one occasion taking a guest up stairs and telling him he just needs to survive the night but the events of that night turn very dark, and the situation becomes very uncomfortable to watch, and this is from a hardcore horror fan. I actually squirmed in my seat while watching this film. I squirmed, I sat dead still and at times wanted to look away. The actions of the officers are sickening, the fact that certain support forces walk away just so they were not seen to be involved in the situation is sickening and the fact that these bastards got away with it is even more gut wrenching.
Kathyrn Bigelow has directed a Oscar worthy film here, the direction is spot on. I thought the inclusion of actual news footage from the time was well done, it goes to show just how real the film actually was. The actors should also get as much recognition for there performances aswell, Detroit had some of the best performances I have seen in a longtime and this couldn't have been an easy one to act. Algee Smith is a stand out for me, His portrayal of the now ex member of the Dramatics, Larry Reed, was outstanding, and in a way you also have to throw Will Poulter's portrayal of the evil, twisted Phillip Krauss, in to the mix of great performances in there too. That is a role that REALLY couldn't have been a role he would want to remember.
If you want a look into the dark history of American black history this is up here with the ones you NEED to watch. This is not a film you will forget and it will be talked about for many many years to come. I will warn you this is not in any way or form and easy watch so make sure your head is in the right place for this one.