Detour

Film - Feature | March 30 | 8:15 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

“No matter what you do, no matter where you turn, fate sticks out its foot to trip you,” gripes Detour’s Al Roberts (Tom Neal), a master of deadpan anxiety who, it must be said, does his part to invite that intrusive boot at every turn. Nothing tempts fate like the guilt of an innocent man. Has anyone in films since Peter Lorre had worse luck, or worse judgment? But that’s the fun of Detour, a bitter, brittle noir that emerges out of the fog of German Expressionism to thumb a ride across the map of the USA. Yes, the map; actual locations would have been too costly. In a cheerless diner, Al recounts his wild ride with a femme fatale (Ann Savage, in this case aptly named). Between flashback and rear projection, the present blurs until the diner itself becomes nothing but a coffee cup in huge close-up. Detour seems to exist in Al’s fear and desire—in film space, traveling through objects into time.

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