Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bad Time For A Movie Like This

With Friday's newspaper comes the entertainment section, in which new movies are reviewed.  This week, Kathryn Bigelow's new movie "Detroit" debuts.  It is called by movie critic Dan Gire, a "docudrama", which means it's a dramatic depiction of actual events surrounding the Detroit race riots of 1967. 

I'm not intending to comment on Gire's slanted view of this movie...slanted in the sense that it regards this depiction to be the unvarnished truth rendered in an absolutely objective manner without regard to personal biases.  Whether police brutality was suffered by the black community in greater degree than by others (like hippies) is not a concern here (though they most assuredly were).  Whether or not the police overreacted to the response of the black community after a police raid on an illegal event (possibly, though "overreaction" to an entire community looting, burning and assaulting would be difficult to measure) is also not a concern.  Whether or not blacks overreacted to the police raid of said illegal event (Yes.  They most certainly did.), or were in any way justified in doing so (No.  They most certainly were not.  No one would be.), is as well another story.

No.  Here, my concern is with the making of the film and the timing of its release.  I don't know when this film was conceived, nor when production of it began.  The best I can determine at this point was that it wasn't all that long ago given Bigelow's announcement in early 2016 that she intends to collaborate with Mark Boal on the film.  She's been a busy woman in recent years and sometimes these things can take quite some time to get from one's initial inspiration to actual release for public consumption.

Bigelow, in one interview, stated she felt it time to enter into discussions involving race relations.  I don't know where she's been, but it seems to me that she's somewhat late to the party on that score given that Eric Holder chided us in 2009 for being "a nation of cowards" with regard to such discussions.  The thing is, not only are many of us willing and eager to get into such discussions, many of us are willing to be absolutely honest about it, including discussing the topic from a wide variety of angles.  Some of those angles are those others would prefer not be discussed. 

For the purpose of this post, the point has to do with what impact a film like this will have on such discussions, as well as on the climate of race relations as it now stands.  This assumes the film is entirely accurate and honest as to the events of those riots in 1967.  That's in question given that some don't even want to use the term "riots" in favor of a more noble "rebellion". 

Recent years have shown that arguing that all lives matter, in response to chants that black lives do, is itself a racist comment to some.  Exposing the numbers regarding who's doing what and in what percentages also results in outcry, as the truth interferes with a narrative by which some benefit.  I would suggest that this film will only make things worse in that regard.  It will validate some false opinions with which truth, facts and evidence are inconvenient.  It will be used to justify more attacks on cops, as if the attitudes of most people today remain unchanged from 50 years ago...which is blatant nonsense.

I don't think the movie will tell us anything we didn't already know, except perhaps that the riots actually took place.  The young may not be aware.  But will they be enlightened, or further indoctrinated?  I don't know, but I don't think incendiary films like this are the way to bring it to their attention. 

I hope we hear of no violence tied to any presentation of this film.  And should dialogue take place as a result, I hope it's all positive and of a type that relieves tension between the races instead of increasing it.  It remains to be seen.


Just watched Steven Crowder's review of this film and it lends credence to my fears...not that it came as a surprise.  Here's the YouTube link: 


Craig said...

But a good time for Dunkirk.

Marshal Art said...

It's on my list. Just read a review from Victor Davis Hanson the other day. His critiques were more along the line of how this movie he really liked could have been even better. Hopefully I can get to see it while it's still in the theaters. I really like going to a theater to see a movie. One of the last movies I saw was Hacksaw Ridge. It's available on cable services, and perhaps on Netflix or platforms like it. Check it out.

BTW, I'm assuming you've seen Dunkirk?

Craig said...

Saw it last weekend, really well done. Any time you have a movie that focuses on bravery and sacrifice it's a good thing.

Definitely see it on the biggest screen possible.

Marshal Art said...

Hoping to see Dunkirk Saturday night. We'll see.