Family can be a heck of a thing. Illness in the family can drive you to some desperate acts. When Harper thinks his stepfather wants his ill mother to die, he sets out to do something about it. Detour is the story of his journey to put a stop to his stepfather.
Tye Sheridan plays Harper, a young law student. His mother is currently in the hospital fighting for her life. Harper believes his stepfather, a successful businessman, is the cause of her situation and wants her to die. He has found suspicious behavior such as his stepfather forging his mother’s signature on documents and clues that he is having an affair. Harper loves his mom very much so he is consumed with a need to stop his stepfather. But he doesn’t know what to do about it.
Enter Johnny Ray: an edgy criminal. Johnny and Harper discuss his stepfather’s behavior over far too many drinks. The next day Johnny shows up at Harper’s doorstep. The previous night, they discussed an arrangement for Johnny to murder Harper’s stepfather in exchange for money. Harper joins Johnny largely against his now sober desires. The two of them head out with Johnny’s romantic interest to kill Harper’s stepfather. Along the way Harper must find a way out of the mess he has found himself in.
Detour borrows a lot from other films. The events unfold through non-linear storytelling. As the story unfolds in realtime, we get scenes from the past spliced into the current. These scenes fill in gaps so that we understand all the events that are occurring. Another trick they make use of reminds me of Sliding Doors. Throughout the movie, Harper makes decisions one way or another. These decisions are illustrated through split screen moments where we see both decisions as if they played out before we return to the main story line.
The acting is mostly pretty good. Tye Sheridan remarks in one of the included interviews about how interested he was in the role when he received the script. And it shows. He seems to have taken to the project with some enthusiasm. I’m just not sure he is ready to play this type of role yet. I like Sheridan as an actor and think he has promise, but I don’t think he fully sells the scenes. Or maybe the direction failed him in these scenes. Either way, it was ok, but I believe below his ability. The rest of the actors carried their roles fine, but his was the one that shouldered the most weight in selling the movie.
Detour’s concept is quite solid. Unfortunately, the execution just fails to pay off as it should for me. The gimmicks of the storytelling are probably relied on too heavily. It obscures the plot in some unnecessary ways. A more restrained use of these methods would have probably resulted in the story unfolding in a more interesting. The reveals would have been more satisfying and would have made the story a little deeper. As it is, it feels like trying to throw red herrings into the presentation and artificially making it more complex than it really is.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Detour looks good as expected. I didn’t notice any oddities in the colors or any crushing blacks. The picture looked sharp and clean throughout.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Detour features a Digital HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The audio was generally crisp and clear. The track had good depth despite some moments not really showing the umph I was expecting. Dialog was however clean throughout.
Special Features and Packaging: 3/5
A Detour with the Cast and Crew: The Characters and Filmmaking: Making of with quick comments from those involved.
Interview with Writer/Director Christopher Smith: A little chat with the writer/director. He gives us a little information on his inspirations. He references the legend Fritz Lang. I think he even mentioned Sliding Doors which makes sense given that the movie made me think of it.
Interview with Actor Tye Sheridan: Tye shares thoughts about what really grabbed him about the script and what he tried to do with the part.
Deleted Scenes: Nothing truly interesting here.
Theatrical Trailer: Look, there is no reason to artificially inflate word count, here.
Detour does feature a nice little touch with the slipcover. The slipcover features embossed artwork and lettering. This just makes a little bit nicer presentation and feel. Points for that, Magnet.
Detour isn’t a bad film by any stretch. I just don’t think it was as smart as the director hoped to make it. I think he relied on interesting gimmicks and tricks too much in his storytelling this time around. The acting could have been better and more polished, but I understand these productions aren’t full of all very successful actors. It just leaves it being a movie that should have been better than it is. As it is, it just isn’t completely memorable. I don’t think it will succeed in sticking with you. Despite this, it is an enjoyable watch. The extras certainly don’t make it worth owning. So, give it a rental.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.