I really don’t like this new wave of hipster/indie movies. Sure, there are a couple of good ones, but the rest is just white noise. You know the ones I’m talking about: a love story with a dreamy atmosphere and rebelious teens. Detour only looked like that, but after I managed to endure that first striptease scene (looked like something from True Detective, season 2), the rewards just kept rolling in. Only now, after I checked the crew, I realized that the director was none other than fucking Christopher Smith! He’s the guy behind such good movies as Severance, Black Death, and Triangle.
The young cast did a terrific job too, featuring young Tye Sheridan (Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Emory Cohen (The OA), and Bel Powley. The vibe is a bit similar to the eighties and nineties road movies. It features familiar sets and imagery, banking on that new-wave-noir look. The only element that’s a bit problematic, is the pacing that’s sometimes too erratic or slow. However this doesn’t last for long.
Life is a bitch and then you die. Young law student that goes by the name of Harper realized this pretty early. After a car crash, his mother is in a coma and his stepfather, who got away without injuries, has already found a new girl. One night, while drinking in a bar, Harper meets Johnny proposing to take care of his father. Father who just decided to leave for Las Vegas while his wife is fighting for her life…
Before we get into anything else, I must quote one line from the movie. Chris peered into the darkness and came back with a perfect definition of what it is to feel alive: “To be really alive, you gotta gamble more than you can afford to lose”. Fuck me, is that quotable or what. Now let’s discuss a bit unusual style of storytelling (we first saw Chris experiment with this in Triangle), with the story arching into different realities and “what-could-should-have-beens”. It’s fucking awesome, I’ll tell you that.
It makes the movie more dynamic and poses greater challenges to the entire crew, making the entire movie much, much better. The story was also good, although some of the main elements have been used too many times, that’s not the film-maker’s fault. It had enough twists and turns to keep you interested and they were cleverly thought out, giving audiences just enough time to get through them with that sense of accomplishment. I also liked the snappy editing that felt like it belongs in a much larger production. In the end, Detour is a great movie done by the book, so be sure to check it out.
Director: Christopher Smith
Writer: Christopher Smith
Cast: Emory Cohen, Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, Stephen Moyer, John Lynch
Fun Facts: This is the second film where Bel Powley co-stars with a cast member from HBO’s True Blood. In Diary of a Teenage Girl she worked with Alexander Skarsgård, and in Detour she works with Stephen Moyer..