Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Detour (1945)



Reviews and Comments

Bitter twists of fate are the subject of this film noir. It's poorly acted, has distractingly bad camerawork, and an anti-climax for an ending. And yet, moments of moody brilliance shine through, and ultimately the story is a compelling one. The narration, which seems overdone at first, adds an interesting dimension to the film. How much differently would we perceive the main character without it? What if we had only his actions to judge and not all his explanations?

Ann Savage, playing a deliciously wicked femme fatale, is the bright spot in the acting, and her introduction is the bright spot in the cinematography. There's a moment when the camera takes the main character's point of view and examines her in profile. As he appraises her features, so do we. Close-ups in movies provide us that luxury, which we do not have in real life: we can take our time to examine faces -- eyes, lips, hair -- without being noticed, stopped, or examined in return. It's just one more way in which movies fascinate us by showing us ourselves.

But this time we get caught.