The violence and chaos of the Detroit riots in the summer of 1967 began early on Sunday, July 23 when the police raided a local bar. It incited five long days of police brutality that ended in 43 deaths. But there was one infamous and tragic episode during those five days that left three black teenagers dead.

The Algiers Motel incident is the focal point of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest directorial effort, Detroit, which chronicles the violence that unravelled in one of the deadliest riots in U.S. history. The first trailer for the film opens in the midst of the riots when John Boyega’s Detroit police officer calmly reports over the phone that there’s no trouble where he’s stationed, at least not yet. But when a group of teenagers hiding out in the local seedy Algiers Motel tease one another with a handgun shooting blanks, reports of snipers attract police attention. The trailer charts the terrifying episode, which was detailed in John Hersey’s 1968 book The Algiers Motel Incident, which found local cops and National Guard soldiers raiding the motel, killing three teens and brutally injuring nine. Here’s the brief official synopsis:

Detroit tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ‘67.

Detroit made our most anticipated movies of 2017 list for a couple of reasons. Not only does the film mark the Zero Dark Thirty director’s return behind the camera for the first time in five years, but it’s behind another politically significant topic. It’s impossible not to feel like you’re looking at a piece of current news while watching the trailer above, which only proves how little systemic racism has changed in America.

Recent documentaries like I Am Not Your Negro and 13th have charted the rise of police brutality and the violence and murders in the black community over the past few years, but it’s a topic Hollywood has yet to fully take on. The Hurt Locker director is no doubt a talented filmmaker for the job, and Detroit, which was written by Zero Dark Thirty scribe Mark Boal, looks every bit as fantastic and powerful as you'd expect. The film is sure to get Oscar buzz as well. And yet as exciting as this project is, it’s still a shame and a hugely missed opportunity that a film about the history of racism and violence in America is directed and written by white people.

In addition to Boyega, the film also stars Will Poulter, Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jake Reynor, John Krasinski, and Anthony Mackie. Detroit hits theaters August 4. Check out the poster for the film below.


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