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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Detour (2016) (Blu-ray)
Detour (2016) (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // April 25, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted April 24, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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R E P L A Y
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Christopher Smith may not be a household name, but he has directed several impressive genre films, including Triangle, Severance and Black Death. His latest, Detour, stars Tye Sheridan, Stephen Moyer and Bel Powley, and is a sneakily effective neo-noir thriller. Sheridan's quiet law student, Harper, wants to kill his stepfather. He blames him for the wreck that landed his mother in a coma. One drunken evening, he stumbles into the graces of career criminal Johnny Ray (Emory Cohen), and promises to pay him $20,000 to kill the man in Las Vegas. The next morning, sobriety catches up to Harper, who wants to cancel the transaction, but Johnny compels him to take an unpleasant road trip to finish the deed.

I recommend not reading anything about this movie, particularly the Blu-ray packaging, before viewing, as it spoils some of the twists and turns in this multi-narrative, time-shifting thriller. Director Smith plays with perspective and chronology throughout, and frequently returns to key scenes to show viewers an alternate reality or deliver the scene in its correct place in time, which changes the meaning. He also uses a number of nifty angles and some tricky camera work to give the movie a unique look. This could be gimmicky, but it works here, and is complemented by slick cinematography from Christopher Ross. The movie has two separate but related narratives. The main focus is on the road trip, but the movie flashes back and forth to events in Harper's life.

Johnny is a deranged asshole who kills and steals at will, and enjoys watching others squirm. He brings along Cherry (Powley) for the ride, and claims she is not his girl. She maintains that she is "not a trick," either, despite Johnny's words to the contrary. Sheridan, who gave an excellent performance as a child in Jeff Nichols' Mud, is all grown up but maintains a youthful appearance. The movie somewhat awkwardly tries to turn him into a James Dean-esque sex symbol, but the twenty-year-old actor weathers the difficult material with ease. He has an impressive career on the horizon, including the lead in an upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One." When things get dicey, Harper reacts authentically, but Detour does not make him a pushover.

On the road, we learn that Johnny is in trouble with a desert drug runner, Frank (John Lynch), who is obsessed with Cherry. Johnny will do a lot of things, but he will not abandon Cherry at Frank's drug and sex-filled compound. Harper plots an escape, with or without Cherry, and the group hits more than a few speed bumps along the way. One plot thread goes from nail-biting intense to hilarious, and involves liquid acid and a desert rave. This is a tightly paced film, with energetic performances and plenty of unexpected plot detours. In classic noir fashion, not everyone goes home a winner, and things are not always what they seem. This is an entertaining, unexpected thriller with a good lead performance and solid direction from Smith.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is strong, with excellent fine-object detail and abundant texture. Close-ups are razor sharp, and wide shots are gorgeously detailed and stable. Colors are bold and nicely saturated, and blacks are inky. There are plenty of high-contrast shots that never appear blown out, and the film is crisp and clear in motion.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is effective. Dialogue is clear and crisp, whether delivered from the center channel or the surrounds. Ambient effects surround the viewer, and more dynamic, action effects offer dynamic listening and LFE support. The score is layered appropriately. English SDH subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in a standard case that is wrapped in a slick, attractive slipcover. Extras include A Detour with the Cast and Crew: The Characters and Filmmaking (8:07/HD), a brief making-of; Interviews with Writer/Director Christopher Smith and Actor Tye Sheridan (11:12/HD); Deleted Scenes (6:19/HD); and the Theatrical Trailer (2:09/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

An unexpectedly slick and entertaining neo-noir thriller, Director Christopher Smith's Detour offers edgy thrills and a good performance by Tye Sheridan. Smith plays with perspective and chronology throughout, and Detour is tightly paced and exciting. Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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