Merriam-Webster defines dystopia as “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” This film, whose title is clearly a spinoff of this word, is extremely dark and, at times, painful to watch. A depressing statistic, for example, claims that Detroit has lost fifty percent of its manufacturing jobs in ten years. This is in a city that used to be one of the manufacturing capitals of the world.
I also feel the need to comment on the cinematography, which is extremely interesting and unorthodox for a documentary. Most documentaries follow a more “realist” path, one that uses natural lighting, eye-level shots, and hand-held cameras. Detropia utilizes all of these, but also incorporates some extremely formalist elements. The shots are often clearly planned and stylized. Color is manipulated, filters are added, and there is a combination of both high key and low key lighting. This is unlike any documentary I’ve seen before.