Detropia

2012, Documentary, 1h 30m

42 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Detropia takes a comprehensive yet intimate -- and above all devastatingly powerful -- look at the rise and economic ruin of an American city. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady examine the decline of Detroit and the stalwart residents who remain in the once-thriving city.

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Critic Reviews for Detropia

Audience Reviews for Detropia

  • Oct 06, 2012
    Detroit's woes are well known by anyone who pays half-attention to the news. And any red-blooded American is rooting for the revitalization and rebirth of this once-powerful city. The stark contrast of what this city once was and what it has become is the dark side of the American Dream. Therefore Detroit has proven itself to be more than worthy to be a powerful subject for a documentary. Its struggles beg to be documented and told through the lens of an insightful and thought-provoking filmmaker. That's why "Detropia"'s lack of impact is such a surprise. Filmed with a feathery touch and told through an arthouse-lens, "Detropia" doesn't cover any new ground. Fans of beautiful cinematography and stylish storytelling will enjoy "Detropia" but if you are looking to learn new things about Detroit or to really feel and understand the true struggles of this once amazing and now dying city, don't bother going to "Detropia".
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2012
    No new ground covered in this doc about the demise of Detroit...cue shots of the Ren Cen at dusk with the GM logo ablaze, despairing statistics and the urban porn star - the ubiquitous and spooky Detroit Central train station. Clueless residents, a union president and an irritating video blogger serve as the narrative to the Motor City meltdown that would have been better served with just one voice. No solutions are offered so what is the use...perhaps as an national cautionary tale? (9-29-12)
    John C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2012
    "Detropia" is an eye-opening case study of late model capitalism, as the middle class has all but ceased to exist in Detroit. The documentary contrasts the success of Detroit's past with its present lying in ruins and possible bankruptcy with a rapidly decreasing population that currently resides at about 713,000. About the only available jobs involve demolition and salvage, as Mayor Dave Bing remarks that even if people get a good job, they just might be saving enough to move away, anyway. What's striking here is the film also being as interested in the visual side of the equation, exemplified by a sudden cut from an old advertisement showing the shiny highways of the future to a stray dog out in the middle of a street. What of Detroit's future, if it has one? Mayor Bing has a radical proposal to consolidate the still viable neighborhoods to save on services, including mass transportation, which are in danger of being cut even more. While all of that is going on, the documentary follows a vlogger, a bar owner and a union president who do what they can for their city.(The documentary is dedicated to such civic minded individuals.) This also gives the documentary a street level view of events. What's also interesting and possible optimistic about the 2010 census is that it reported a 59% increase in young people moving downtown, some of whom are artists drawn to cheap housing. In conclusion, the documentary sees more hope in the arts than in the white elephant of sports which is pretty much ignored here since they are probably more of interest to surburbanites.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2012
    A snippet in time that reminds us of what has been lost in Detroit without very much hope of ever seeing it restored to its former splendor. We all know of the forgotten people and buildings and this film is another poignant view of those souls.
    John B Super Reviewer

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