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Chris Kavan's Movie Reviews (3243)

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Detour (2017) 
This is One Detour Worth Taking
3/4 stars

The main reason I was drawn to Detour was Bel Powley, who absolutely blew me away in her breakout performance in The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Granted, I am also a fan of Tye Sheridan, though Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is more of a personal preference rather than a critically-acclaimed performance.

Detour also had me hooked with its story that combines a nightmarish road trip with a thriller involving a murder-for-hire that takes a much different turn about a third of the way through the film. Sheridan plays the golden boy Harper - an upstanding pre-law student, but one who has a major issue with his step-father (played by Stephen Moyer). You see, his mother is in a coma and though he has been there nearly ever day, his step-father has hardly visited, though he goes on several business trips. He becomes convinced that not only is his step-father having an affair, but that he was directly responsible for the accident that put his mother in the coma.

Drowning his sorrows in a dive bar, he overhears a conversation of criminal-type Johnny Ray (Emory Cohen) who becomes impressed by the way he stands up to him. Taking him to a nearby strip club, he introduces him to Cherry (Powley) and after hearing about his troubles, makes a deal to take out his step father for a cool $20,000. The next day he shows up, but, of course, in the harsh light of day, Harper has second thoughts but, after a short bit, agrees to go through with the plan.

Much of the next part of the film is following the trio as they make their way to Las Vegas for the job. Along the way they get in trouble with a cop, cross paths with drug dealer Frank and we learn that Harper is hiding more than his fear. To say too much would be to give away a nice twist. Needless to say, Harper finds himself drawn to Cherry, who is not Johnny Ray's girlfriend, but almost more like his property and he has no problem knocking her around. What made Powley so brilliant in Diary still comes out her - she's both vulnerable but has a lot of strength and a fair bit of guile to go along with it. Sheridan, for his part, pulls off the part of Harper just as well and Cohen likewise brings about a bit of manic determination as Johnny Ray. Overall, the three play off each other very well and drive this monstrous roadtrip to a fair conclusion.

There are a few supporting roles, besides Moyer as the step-father, John Lynch comes across as quite scary as the drug-running Frank while Jared Abrahamson provides what little comic relief there is as Harper's drug-addled buddy, Paul. The story can move a bit slow at times, but stick with it - when it all comes together it's a thing of beauty.

The young cast pulls off this crime thriller with surprising ease and I think all three are going to have a lot of success in their careers ahead.


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2017 Rated and Ranked by Chris Kavan
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