“No matter where you turn, fate sticks out its foot
to trip you,” gripes Detour’s Al Roberts (Tom Neal).
Nothing tempts fate like the guilt of an innocent
man. Edgar Ulmer’s bitter, brittle noir emerges
out of the fog of German Expressionism to thumb
a ride across the map of the USA. 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.