Some decisions are seemingly inconsequential to our lives. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Get up or sleep in. Watch ‘The X-Files’ or ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’. Yet some decisions are life-changing, and making the wrong choice can lead to trouble. But what if you didn’t have to choose? The thriller ‘Detour’ asks this question, as we witness the outcomes of two choices of a life-changing decision.
Harper (Tye Sheridan, ’X-Men: Apocalypse’, ’Mud’, ‘The Tree Of Life’) is a young law student whose mum is in a coma after a car accident she and his step-father Vincent (Stephen Moyer, TV’s ‘True Blood’) were involved in. Harper suspects Vincent may have had something to do with the accident, and that he may be having an affair while his wife is lying in a hospital bed. Drowning his sorrows one night, Harper meets Johnny (Emory Cohen, ’Brooklyn’), a small-time criminal who listens to Harper’s woes. The next morning, Johnny and his girlfriend Cherry (Bel Powley, ’The Diary Of A Teenage Girl’, ’A Royal Night Out’) turn up on Harper’s doorstep, and tell him in a drunken state they'd agreed to track Vincent down in Las Vegas and kill him. Harper has to make a decision to stay or go with them - with both choices having big ramifications.
Writer/director Christopher Smith brings some really interesting techniques to this story, which take a very run-of-the-mill tale and make it something intriguing. Harper’s choices are sometimes presented in split screen, and sometimes as stand-alone stories. There’s a lot of time manipulation, with small yet vital facts kept from the audience until they’re needed. Smith isn’t afraid to be adventurous, yet keeps the story coherent. He and cinematographer Christopher Ross have also crafted a unique film aesthetically, choosing unusual lenses - particularly very wide - to tell the story.
The key trio of Sheridan, Powley and Cohen are some of the most exciting actors of their generation, and ‘Detour’ is no exception.
The cast is top-notch, with great efforts all round. The key trio of Sheridan, Powley and Cohen are some of the most exciting actors of their generation, and their work on ‘Detour’ is no exception. Cohen and Powley’s characters are crude and raw, and they pull it off well (although I did cringe a little every time Powley said “ain’t”). Tye Sheridan’s Harper is the focus of the film, and he’s fascinating to watch, calm and controlled with so much going on below the surface.
While this film isn’t perfect, it takes some risks and most of them come off as wins. It’s sure to keep you entertained and on your toes in order to to keep up with it. If you get given the choice whether or not to watch ‘Detour’ - definitely watch it.