Detroit Blu-ray Review

From Kathryn Bigelow, the award-winning director of “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, comes the gripping story of one of the most terrifying secrets in American history.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2017
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 143 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinki, Anthony Mackie
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Mark Boal
Region Code: A

Release Date: December 12, 2017

“Based on the Disturbing True Story”

My Take:

Detroit is a fact based drama that focuses on the events that transpired one terrifying evening during the civil unrest that tore apart the city of Detroit, and its traumatic aftermath. The summer of 1967 was a pivotal moment in modern American history when the country was beset by growing political and social unrest: the escalation of the country’s military engagement in the Vietnam War and decades of racial injustice and repression. The epicenters of all this discontent and simmering rage proved to be the nation’s major cities with their systemic discrimination, racial disparities in housing and education, and growing unemployment in African-American communities.

Two nights after the Detroit rebellion began, a report of gunshots in the vicinity of a National Guard staging area prompted the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Army National Guard and a local private security guard to search and seize an annex of the nearby Algiers Motel. Flouting procedural rules, several policemen forcefully and viciously interrogated motel guests, conducting a “death game” in an attempt to intimidate someone, anyone, into confessing. By the end of the night, three unarmed young men had been gunned down point blank, and several other men and women were brutally beaten. No gun was ever found.

Detroit is a powerful, and at times, disturbing drama that recounts the story of the events (at least what could be determined) that unfolded that terrible evening in the city of Detroit. As seen from multiple perspectives, including a young black security officer, who finds himself suddenly caught up in events that quickly spiral out of control, leaving him placed squarely in the middle. Honestly, I wasn’t remotely familiar with this story. Those were turbulent times to be certain, and what was perpetrated upon these young people was simply unconscionable, and the extent of it, incredible. I have to admit that this film left me thinking about it, even the next day.

The young members of the cast, that portray the victims, are marvelous. There are several screen veterans littered throughout who handle their respective roles well also. The only real issue I had was with the selection of Will Poulter, who had a pivotal role, as the young Detroit police officer, who served as the ring leader. I like him, but felt he lacked the polish to lend the authenticity needed to play such a character. Regardless, the film still worked, making for a resounding, albeit, disturbing drama/biopic, that recounts atrocities that should never be forgotten.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for strong violence, pervasive language, and disturbing thematic content.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): 

Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 

Detroit comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn’t always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn’t a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic that coincide with the film’s period specific elements. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are nice and deep which provides plenty of pop when onscreen with mixed content. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. I found little to complain about and thought that this one looked solid.

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to deliver the more active sequences as well as to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • • The Truth of Detroit
    • The Cast of Detroit
    • The Invasion of Detroit
    • The Hope of Detroit
    • Detroit – Then and Now
    • Algee Smith and Larry Reed: “Grow”
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Detroit is a well-executed, fact based drama, that focuses on the events that transpired one terrifying evening during the civil unrest that tore apart the city of Detroit, and its traumatic aftermath. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring faithful high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound, and a fair supplemental package. Detroit may be tough to watch, but it’s a quality film that recounts a dark time in our nation’s history. Those that a generally drawn to these types of films should place it at the top of their Blu-ray rental queue.

Ralph Potts
online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems