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“Detropia” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

August 29, 2012

The following review was dated back in January 2012, after I returned from the Sundance Film Festival, I wrote my review for “Detropia” as my final Sundance coverage/review at Hudak on Hollywood.

Since the film is hitting a limited release on September 5th, I thought I’d repost this review to get the hype rolling. People, I highly recommend you check out this movie. It’s extremely good!

“Detropia” was a film I had the privilege to see while I attended this year Sundance Film Festival, working as a theater volunteer. There’s a special token when you work inside the theaters at Sundance, you get to watch the movies! All you really do inside is guide people to a near by exit or to the bathroom, other than that, you sit back, relax, and watch a flick that you don’t have to pay, or wait in those heavy Sundance lines for.

“Detropia” was a very interesting documentary, and a bigger attention grabber on my part than the “Under African Skies” doc I saw. While a good film, “Detropia” is grander, fleshed out documentary. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady tackles all aspects that is Detroit. It’s an aesthetically satisfying portrayal of a city that’s had its triumphant ups and infamous downs. One might have foreseen this film being somewhat hard to juggle, since it nearly covers every inch of Detroit’s history, but Ewing & Grady (director of “Jesus Camp”), find a way to flesh out the film, with clever editing styles, and a strong structured narrative.

Detroit’s story has, in a nutshell, summarized the iconic narrative of America over the last 100 years; the focus of African Americans escaping Jim Crow to the impending success of the automobile industry. Detroit was at one point the star icon of the American dream, so the film presents it that is, and then…the collapse of the economy. When Detroit became the victim of the economic downfall, the ‘American dream’ that was Detroit began to fade away.

What really captured my attention was this film was an other worldly community collage, making Detroit come off darkly fantastical and mysterious. The powerhouse score by Blair French is commanding, dark, and touches the very soul of Detroit. Which reminds me, I gotta find this soundtrack when it comes out. We follow people like Crystal Starr, a blogger, whose love by Detroit’s history gratifies the existence of the city. If there was any intention to bring hope back to Detroit, this film is on the right track for bringing a compelling message across for the people to see and hear.


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