With a hugely-successful self-distribution model that found strong support on Kickstarter, Detropia, against the odds, is now poised to become this season's documentary Cinderella story.
Watching Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s striking documentary Detropia, I was reminded, strangely enough, of Ridley Scott’s decidedly indecisive Alien “prequel” Prometheus. No, seriously. Hear me out. A movie event 30 years in the making that couldn’t possibly satisfy anyone with a vested interest, Scott’s chilly, baroque space oddity shifted from easy and familiar to vexing and suggestive, often within single scenes. Saddled with expectation it couldn’t—or perhaps didn’t want to—meet, the film eschewed clear exposition to explain its visually arresting, but logic-scrambling, narrative moves in favor of an open-ended, “piece it together yourself” framework. Such brazen disregard for the by-the-numbers payoff of a big-budget sci-fi entry exhilarated some, glad to ascribe their own meaning to what they’d just witnessed, and angered those who demanded answers from the all the film’s big conceptual rues simmering in the pot, waiting for some ingredients to thicken.