Detour (1945)

DetourDetour is an incredible film. You start watching it and you are immediately arrested by the noir ambience. It has every element that you've ever looked for in a classic Film Noir. You can feel that you are in for a ride. You know it will be bumpy but you know it will be fun.

Made in 1945 and shot in just 6 days, this film in many ways defines the genre. It has only become available on DVD in the last few months.  I've been wanting to watch it ever since I heard a little about its premise on an NPR show.

Al Roberts must travel west to see his girl-friend in L.A. He doesn't have enough money though and he must hitch-hike all the way from New York to L.A.

What follows is an amazing tale of circumstances that pulls you right in. Bizarre plot twists and even more bizarre characters. The film just flies on the screen until it ends in what is one of those amazingly complex and moving endings, the likes of which have basically just evaporated from modern moviemaking. Detour is your perfect film. Seems a bit long, even for its short and snappy 68-minute length. It keeps you very insecurely at the the edge of your seat.

The most amazing character and performance is that of Vera, a tough-as-nails, drifter that Al picks up on his way to L.A. Ann Savage plays one of the most unforgettable roles I've seen in a long time. She is a freaky, crazy and yet incredibly fatally attractive headstrong young woman who just verbally eats Al alive. He is putty in front of her boisterous and overbearing personality. She is the kind of woman that Film Noir celebrates and respects, the kind of character that has been all but lost over the years to a more politically correct version. This movie is worth watching just for the conversation between her and Al in the car. Those 5 minutes are more entertaining than most 90-minute movies are.

This Detour is much more worth than any journey you may  have been planning in your movie-watching endeavors.