Detroit (2017) is based on the Detroit race riots of 1967 and, more specifically, the Algiers Motel incident, in which three black teenagers were killed by members of the city’s police department. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring an ensemble cast, including the likes of John Boyega, Will Poulter, John Krasinski, and Anthony Mackie, Detroit is an astonishing look at one event, in particular, that encapsulated the five days of rioting that saw the Motor City burnin’. Taking place at the Algiers Motel, where the rising Detroit vocal group, the Dramatics, found refuge from the street violence of the riots, the safe haven quickly became a war zone, itself, in which the group’s leader, Larry Reed, as played by Algee Smith, was witness to the horror. Due to a joke gone awry, which involved one of the motel’s guests firing a toy gun at the Michigan Army National Guard, who were stationed nearby to enforce the state-sanctioned curfew, three members of the Detroit PD quickly arrived on the scene. With backing from the National Guard, themselves, and the Michigan State Police, the trio of Detroit PD officers use any means necessary to get a confession from the guests on the whereabouts of the gun, which they believed to have belonged to a sniper. With its ability to hold our attention throughout, the panic in Detroit teaches us about a dramatized view of history, without trying to take sides. However, as interesting and educational as the film is, it suffers from some, seemingly, pointless character involvement. For instance, Boyega’s role as the real life security guard-for-hire, Melvin Dismukes, who was present at the motel during the confrontation, seems convoluted and poorly drawn out by the screenwriters. In reality, Dismukes is a vital part of the factual retelling of that day’s events, but the way he’s presented onscreen would have you believe otherwise, as it seems like his character was lazily thrown together at the last minute. This, in addition to various other character qualms, keeps Detroit from being one of the year’s best. Still, the film should be lauded for piquing our interest over the full two-and-a-half hours of run time.