"Painful but honest depiction of black life in urban Detroit, featuring multifaceted men striving against the odds. A portrait of black resilience and perseverance — without sentimentality — that stands in stark contrast to the one-dimensional uplifting stories of transformation in Detroit, but still offers a way out of the dark."
"This is documentary filmmaking with highly effective nuanced creative choices, especially for how James composes his cinematic counterpoint in each man’s story [ . . . ] The tension of violence’s persistence underscores every scene. James captures it effectively without ever showing violence being committed [ . . . ] As a white filmmaker, James also was sensitive to presenting the neighborhood’s story with dignity, integrity and respect that echoed its unique history, along with the emotional scars and pains that were manifest in this war for self-determination and preservation.”
"Street Fighting Men embraces some heavy subject matter but it shows the natural ebb and flow that exists in people’s lives [ . . . ] James’ camera captures some moments of natural levity, some deeply touching moments, and some moments of real horror and sadness [ . . . ] If Street Fighting Men comes to theater near you it is worth your time to check out, especially if you liked Moonlight last year."
"While a documentary, it comes across as a fictionalized drama, the characters searingly captured in such a natural way, oblivious to the camera."
"This is the sort of documentary that needs genuine trust between filmmaker and subject in order to get made [ . . . ] each person is one man against a system much larger than him and mostly indifferent to his struggle. They can't do it alone, and there's not that many people who have their backs."