When I first saw this movie, I wasn’t exactly blown away by it (click the link to read my original review and learn the storyline). However, having given it a second viewing during TCM’s Noir Alley presentations, I have to admit that the damn thing has grown on me.
Although I found the story hard to believe at first, Eddie Muller’s thoughts on how our flawed protagonist, the piano player Al (played with characteristic sneer by Tom Neal), could be a wholly unreliable narrator gave me another perspective on this film.
When you view Detour as a kind of fever dream (that may or may not have taken place) or the rantings of a perennial loser, then it actually makes a kind of weird sense, to the extent it can make sense at all.
Somehow on second viewing, the movie (which comes in at a highly economical 68 minutes, which frankly I love) didn’t seem as drawn out as it did the first time. Maybe because I knew what was coming. And I knew it wasn’t good.
I still have to wonder why a man who thinks he killed someone (or could be accused of same) would pick up a hitchhiker (the nastiest one in motion picture history, no less!), when he’s trying to stay under the radar.
But, then again, the guy doesn’t seem like the sharpest tool in the drawer, right? Certainly, he comes across as a man with such a negative outlook, he’s bound for failure. Assuming his story is true to begin with.
As for the ending, did he get caught or did he imagine that? This movie was based on a novel by Martin Goldsmith (who also wrote the screenplay). Now, I’ll have to read that book! Oy! 🙂
So … I’m upgrading my original rating to at least one thumb up! 🙂