Detour makes a nice little intro into film noir. All the basic ingredients are there: the femme fatale, the dark shadows, the flashbacks, the voice over narration, the out of control circumstances leading to certain doom… Except the circumstances are of the protagonist’s own making – he didn’t need to dump the body, and he was unbelievably stupid to pick up the hitch-hiker. At 67 minutes, the movie is very compact, which should be a good thing. I would have preferred to know a little more about Vera’s back story. What made her the way she was? She seemed to want to keep Roberts around for more than just a punching bag. Why was that? Why was she such a monster? It had to be more than mere greed.
There were a couple of shots that impressed me. Towards the chronological beginning of his tale, we see Roberts turn slightly to look directly into the camera as he’s playing the piano. He seems to be acknowledging us. I recently watched the House of Cards remake, and just finished watching the first part of the original, so I’ve been seeing a lot of that kind of thing lately.
The other shot was Sue singing in front of a silhouette horn trio. I’m not sure if it was telling us anything, but it was visually striking, kind of dream-like.