The simplicity of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is its best and worst quality. Her direction has such clarity and power that the chaos and brutality of 50 years ago is vivid and immediate.
Tommy Oliver shot the autobiographical 1982 in his childhood home in Philadelphia, but has enough emotional distance from this portrait of addiction to depict melodramatic situations with a subtle quietude.
Grand Rapids-based filmmaker Joel Potrykus finds absurdist humor in uncomfortably long takes, his camera settling on Marty Jackitansky (Joshua Burge) as he perpetuates a scam – and rages when things don’t go his way.
With his thick New Yawk accent, John Wojtowicz eagerly recalls what led him to rob a Chase Manhattan Bank in Brooklyn on August 22, 1972. The ensuing hostage situation and media circus was immortalized in Dog Day Afternoon.
Kent Mackenzie had an astute eye and a strong social conscience, and 1961’s The Exiles is a stunning example of social realism and aesthetic audacity, capturing 12 hours in the hardscrabble, hard-drinking lives of Native Americans in Los Angeles.