EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DETROPIA (director/writer: Heidi Ewing /Rachel Grady; cinematographers: Tony Hardmon/Craig Atkinson; editor: Enat Siki; music: Dial.81; cast: Tommy Stevens, Crystal Starr, George McGregor, Phil Cooley, Mayor Dave Bing, Steve Coy, Dorota Coy; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Heidi Ewing/Rachel Grady/Craig Atkinson; Docurama Films; 2012)|
|"Bleak but aesthetically
quenching documentary on how the once
great industrial city of Detroit has in modern
times become a car wreck."
by Dennis Schwartz
Ewing and Rachel Grady ("The Boys of
Baraka"/"Jesus Camp"/"12th & Delaware")
co-direct this bleak but aesthetically
quenching documentary on how the once great
industrial city of Detroit has in modern times become
a car wreck--a place of massive unemployment, with
losses of more than half its industries to
outsourcing, a hellhole of urban decay looking as if
bombed in wartime, left with a declining mostly
African-American population, an abundance of vacant
spaces, abandoned buildings, high crime, a decimated
middle-class, a bankrupt city with limited funds for
essential services and a place with little hope of
rising again except for a few young mostly white
artists viewing it as an opportunity to live cheaply
in lofts in the downtown area. Its failure, according
to the filmmakers, sounds a warning to the rest of the
country that if it happened in Detroit it can happen
anywhere in this country.
informed that in 1930 Detroit was the fastest growing
city in the country, but is currently shrinking the
fastest despite being where the big three of
the automotive industry are located and who are the
recipients of the recent big money government bail-out
for the industry. Former basketball great, Mayor Dave
Bing, offers no sure-fire answers to reverse the
downfall, while the pic follows a few responsible
citizens--retired teacher and bar owner Tommy Stevens,
blogger Crystal Starr and UAW
chapter president George McGregor--who remember
the good ole days of middle-class prosperity, where
everyone who wanted a job had one, but now can only
scratch their heads and wonder if the city they love
can ever recover.
The pic covers the facts of the downfall, offers some analysis of what went wrong and how it can be corrected, and relates how China is our biggest economic threat in the future. It dazzles mainly as a lyrical mood piece that pays tribute to the willing to work regular citizens in the now defunct city, as it lets us see for ourselves what happens when capitalism crashes and the richest 2% in the country think only of themselves and not of the 98 % whose labor and support contributed to making them so wealthy.
REVIEWED ON 1/11/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ