This is honestly one of my new favorite noirs. There aren't a lot of twists and turns and new characters, it's very intimate, very crowding. Most of the story is narrated by the main character, and it couldn't have been done better. Most movies with narration feel unneeded. They start off, "Hey, this is me. My name is john everyman. This is the story of how I did stuff." Detour, on the other hand, actually feels like he's thinking to himself. It uses the narration to add character instead of exposition.
I love ow they use the camera work and lighting to signify that it's all in his head. All of a sudden everyone goes quiet, the lights dim eerily, and the camera slowly pans in to Neal's distraught face.
The dialogue's so sharp you can cut a ripe mellon with it!
"There's a folding bed. you know how to use it?"
"I invented it."
Al and Vera, the main characters have such distinctive talking styles and they have so much fun hating each other you can't help but enjoy it.
The story is a tension filled progression into madness, like all great noir stories. The road to a good noir downfall is paved with characters trying to cover up their own messes in exceedingly ridiculous ways, and Detour is no different. You feel for Al as he digs himself further and further into a grave and get surprised at every turn as fate knocks him down again.
This has a great classic noir message: Fate will screw you over whenever it feels like it, and there's nothing you can do about it. The last images of Al walking down the side of the road mournfully, all his mistakes weighing him down, cements fate's cruel humor on life.
Man I loved this movie. I could easily watch it four more times. The dialogue is great, the story is sad, the cinematography is top notch, I'd give this a 35 out of 37. A must for noir enthusiasts. See you next time movie watcher people!