Detropia Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady Thurs., June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Round House Theatre. Also on Fri., June 22 at 10:30 a.m. at AFI Silver 2.

The literal and figurative crumbling of Detroit is captured in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia, though it turns out that even a compelling riches-to-rags story can be stretched too far—in this case because it doesn’t go deep enough. The directors of 2006’s Jesus Camp address the Motor City’s main woe: the bankruptcies and closings of the auto and other manufacturing plants that ignited Detroit’s boom following World War II. And they show the trouble it’s in now, via furious town meetings regarding the discontinuation of city services such as bus lines (the local government is on the brink of bankruptcy itself) and a proposal to relocate residents spread out among Detroit’s outer circles to a more concentrated area, which many pejoratively refer to as “downsizing.” But Detropia is unfocused, introducing and then forgetting about various citizens or having them pop up too randomly to offer opinions and memories, and over-relying on quiet shots of desolation to stretch things out—this is a 91-minute movie. Surely there’s more to Detroit’s downfall. You’ll have to search elsewhere to find it.

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