Movie Review Battle – DETROIT vs THE DARK TOWER

This week is the opening of Sony Pictures take on Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER and Kathryn Bigelow's look into the civil unrest of 1967 DETROIT.  One of these films is hugely disappointing and the other is gripping and worthy of your time. Click through for our Movie Review Battle!

This battle is really easy.  Go see DETROIT!  Honestly Bigelow and writer Mark Boal's film is easily one of the most powerful movies of the year.  While THE DARK TOWER  boasts two solid performances the overall film is muddled down by a lazy and boring script.  Here are three reasons why Detroit works and a few reasons why DT doesn't.

The Boal/Bigelow combination has leaned on intimate scenarios of important moments in the lives of the characters in their previous films.  Detroit expands the reach by touching multiple characters and groups.  We don't just see one side of things and in fact we witness the full cycle of the events that engulfed the city during this harrowing time frame.  The lack of justice is felt by many characters and pushes the audience to see many different points of view.  Whether you're black, white, male or female you can relate to some character in the film and thus Detroit is the most inclusive film from Boal and Bigelow.  Easily the most ambitious film from the talented award winning duo.  I'll just copy and past the cast list to prove my point.

John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Ben O'Toole, Joseph David Jones, Ephraim Sykes, Leon Thomas III, Nathan Davis Jr., Peyton Alex Smith, Malcolm David Kelley, Gbenga Akinnabve, Chris Chalk, Jeremy Strong, Laz Alonzo, Austin Hebert, Miguel Pimentel, Kris Davis, with John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie.

The reality of the scenes are important to the power behind the film.  Whether or not the moments inside the Algiers was exactly as Boal and Bigelow showcase the way they unveil the city of Detroit being undersiege is eyeopening and shocking.  The tanks, the soldiers, the turmoil and the destruction are all on full display.  This full scope of showing the city crumbling is so jarring and mixes in the with the raw emotions of the racism that bleeds from all the open wounds.  This isn't just a film about racist cops killing a few kids, but it's a film about the violent crash of culture that forever changed the city of Detroit.  Boal and Bigelow also have made a film that has echoes of the past, but easily reflects our current present and most importantly screams for change for the future.  This three pronged view can only be gained by properly painting the full picture of July of 1967 in Detroit. 

Overall the acting, directing and writing of the film are worthy of acknowledgment.  It's honestly a little shocking that the film is a summer time release and not a fall award season contender.  But we've seen other summer films hold strong.  I can see this film resonating and sticking in your mind.  There are a few mishaps (length of the movie, some pacing issues and jump editing choices), but these minor faults don't take away from the powerful emotion gained from seeing such a thorough look at this crazy time in our country's history.  Go see Detroit!

Stephen King's self-proclaimed Magnus Opus deservers a much more thorough take then what writer Akiva Goldsman and Director Nikolaj Arcel have given us.  Arcel honestly has done epic stories taken from literary masterworks in a much more fluid and enjoyable manner, but this one seems to fast paced and comically lacks the depth of a King novel(s).  There are few moments of humor that are well placed, but the story is so pushed that it seems corny at times.  There is no real time to understand the painful struggle by our lead Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor).  Instead we jump through portals and eat a hot dog here and blast a demon wall there before guess what Idris saves the world.  Um what?  Is that what we learned from spending decades keeping up with King's longest tenured work?  The guy has sprinkled so many layers of all his work into these 8 novels that he himself admits the scope of The Dark Tower stories is so massive it deserves to be his Magnus Opus.  But Goldsman and Arcel showcase this by putting "Pennywise" on the ruins of a circus area?  There needs to be so much more in this film to actually reach the depth of the novels that have crossed generations.

The only redeming quality is Idris and McConaughey.  Matthew gets to be funny and evil while Elba gets to look menacing and wield a kick ass set of guns. 

Great villain that honestly is super evil and powerful until the very end where he can't stop two bullets.  Dude catches multiple bullets throughout until Idris decides oh I'll shoot two in a row.  BORING!  But luckily Mr. Elba does look kick ass firing those guns.

Honestly skip THE DARK TOWER

Until next weeks battle put your money and time into DETROIT or try a smaller indie like David Lowery's A GHOST STORY or a doc like Al Gore's follow up to An Inconvenient Truth.

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