Title – Detour (2016)
Director – Christopher Smith (Black Death)
Cast – Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley, Stephen Moyer, Gbenga Akinnagbe
Plot – With his mum in a coma, college student Harper (Sheridan) ends up in an uneasy alliance with criminal Johnny Ray (Cohen) and his girlfriend Cherry (Powley) as the trio drive across the country to murder Harper’s suspicious step-dad Vincent (Moyer).
“Don’t regret the things you do. Just the things you don’t”
Review by Eddie on 04/12/2017
British director Christopher Smith has had an interesting “all most” like career since his debut feature Creep garnered some attention way back in 2004.
The hard working director has since churned out 5 feature films (and a mini-series) that include the likes of the underrated horror gem Black Death, the criminally misunderstood Triangle and horror comedy Severance but while there are these little gems or films that almost feel like jumping to the next level, Smith has never truly maximised his potential.
Continuing on with this unfortunate trend, Smith’s new thriller Detour is a film of what could’ve been, a sometimes enthralling road trip that often races along at a cracking pace, yet too often veers away in directions that either don’t engage or don’t make a lot of sense and it must be a film that is marked down as another film Smith could’ve done more with.
Things start out in a promising fashion as Tye Sheridan’s college student Harper meets Emory Cohen’s unhinged Johnny Ray in a divey bar and the two strike up an uneasy alliance that will see Johnny kill Harper’s dodgy step-dad on a road trip over to Las Vegas with Johnny’s on/off girlfriend Cherry coming along for the ride (played impressively by rising star Bel Powley), but Smith’s film can’t maintain the pace or interest levels as the narrative changes its colours and what we initially have signed up ends up being a whole different beast entirely.
The performers all have a decent crack at the material, the soon to be Ready Player One lead Sheridan is always a solid presence, Powley is just as good as she was in her breakout The Diary of Teenage Girl role and while Cohen is starting to become a little one note with his tough guy persona’s, it’s hard to argue against that he does this type of role well, even if Smith labours him with some expletive ridden and often mediocre dialogue.
You can see where Smith wanted Detour to go and where it could’ve gone had the material struck the right chord but after 30 or so minutes with this car load of characters, you’d be wishing the film had a quick pit-stop so you can get off and hitch a ride back where you came from.
Final Say –
One of those road trips that’s destination feels like it wasn’t worth the effort, Detour has a hot start out of the blocks but quickly burns its fuel tickets and becomes a thriller that is not thrilling enough or original enough to make this a journey worth taking.
2 intrusive gardeners out of 5