After hearing this in the opening couple of minutes, I thought I was in for a treat. What I ended up with was the biggest disappointment since England last played in a major tournament. And like then, perhaps it was my fault for reading too much into what seemed like a hopeful and intelligent start.
'Detour' is about young law student Harper (Tye Sheridan) asking career criminal Johny Ray (Emory Cohen) to bump off his stepfather (Stephen Moyer) whom he blames for an accident that has left his mother in a coma. This sounds like an interesting concept in itself, and the opening quote teases all kinds of interesting games for Harper to try and get away with it. Unfortunately as soon as the plot moves forward it pretty much derails.
The single biggest problem with this film is that no character has an ounce, of competence. Their decision making is far worse than my own, back in my heavy drinking days. The villains are too stupid to be a threat and the heros aren’t relatable enough to empathise with. It’s one thing to have characters that are led astray because of a personal flaw they have to work against but here there is nothing but unfathomable stupidity, which could have been funny if the film hadn’t taken itself so seriously. I’d have to enter into spoiler territory to really make it clear how idiotic everyone is in the film. From talking openly and loudly in public places about killing, to leaving incriminating notes in cafés when the police are there. They always end up in trouble with their stupidity, only to get bailed out for plot convenience.
Sheridan is caught in just as much of a no win situation, I also cannot believe that Harper is able to get into law school. It’s a shame that he is incapable of using his brain, or knowledge of law to get out of any of the sticky situations and it was baffling the way he tried to cover his tracks when any kind of understanding of the law (or how to bend it) would have been enough to solve his problems. The audience seemed to take more notice of the opening lines than he did. The amount that he cares for his mother (which was apparently his motivation behind getting into this situation in the first place) gets completely forgotten in the mix.
Bel Powley also stars as Cherry. Who only seems to be in the film as a damsel in distress. Everything about the character sums up why female characters need to be written better. She is a stripper, often wearing little and is in need of being saved. None of these factors seem to add anything to the plot, she is given no personality and there is no rational reason why Johnny would have brought her along for the ride.
The best note I can end on is knowing there is no World Cup this year.
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