Detour is a film which, from the trailer, looked like it could end up hit-or-miss, but in the full telling will most likely be one of my Top 10 films of the year.
Law student Harper (Tye Sheridan) is at his wits end, since his mother is in a coma for which he squarely blames on step-father Vincent (True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer), as he believes the man was driving at the time when they were in a car together and smashed into a tree, three months earlier. You can tell they’ve never really got on as they sneer across the breakfast table, and with his mum not doing very well, he seeks a chance at revenge.
This takes the form of a hit in Vegas – while Vincent’s away “on business” with his floozy, which Harper arranges, after a chance meeting in a bar with dodgy-looking Johnny Ray (Emory Cohen) and an entire bottle of whisky. The next morning, when things are a little more clear, changes his mind, but will Johnny let him?
All the leads are superb – Sheridan as the nervous teen – unsure whether he should carry out his plan, Cohen – who comes across as a man to be feared… until he has to deal with the even more menacing Frank (John Lynch – One Of Us), Moyer – who I first saw in a brilliant 2007 BBC pilot, Empathy, but which never went to a full series because he was soon snapped up by the US, and the stunning Bel Powley as Cherry, whose story will be told as you watch the movie.
There’s a strange ‘fish-eye lens’ effect during some scenes in the club, which is intriguing and different, plus great use of split-screen on a number of occasions, showing Harper’s split decisions, which really gives the film a pep and goes in a direction I’ve not seen done before. I don’t want to spoil things, but it lifted the film from a run-of-the-mill thriller to a must-see.
Add in glorious shots of the American outback, a superb score with great use of split-surround from time to time, and a great number of wonderful little twists and turns that constantly wrongfoot you because of the nature of the way this is filmed, and as I’ve stated earlier, Detour is a stylish and noirish thriller, which is sure to be in my Top 10 films of the year, come December.
Detour is released in UK cinemas now, and is also available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on July 24th, and click on the poster for the full-size version.
Running time: 97 minutes
Studio: Bulldog Films
Released: May 26th 2017
Director: Christopher Smith
Producers: Julie Baines, hil Hunt, Stephen Kelliher, Jason Newmark and Compton Ross
Screenplay: Christopher Smith
Music: Pablo Clements, James Griffith and Toydrum
Harper: Tye Sheridan
Johnny Ray: Emory Cohen
Cherry: Bel Powley
Vincent: Stephen Moyer
Frank: John Lynch
Paul: Jared Abrahamson
Michael: Gbenga Akinnagbe
MGM Receptionist: Sibongile Mlambo
MGV Barlady: Jenna Saras
Narrator / Lecturer: Nick Boraine
Johnny’s friend #1: Nic Rasenti
Johnny’s friend #2: Dylan Edy
Claire (waitress): Reine Swart
Barman: Joe Vaz
Officer Stanwyck: Daniel Fox
Las Vegas Policeman: Francis Chouler
Avis Man: Michael Bundred
Security Officer: Geoffrey Howard
Businessman: Edwin Jay
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.