Virtually ignored upon its initial release in 1945, but was later championed by film critics and directors such as Martin Scorsese as one of the high points of the film noir genre.
It might be extremely low-budget and it might not have any major stars but Detour, with a brisk running time of only 68 minutes, may be the most bleak and nihilistic film noir thriller ever made…. and that’s a compliment. The film has long enjoyed a cult reputation in Europe and among American film buffs for its existential tone.
The main character, Al Roberts (Tom Neal), is an unemployed piano player intent on hitchhiking from New York to Hollywood where his girlfriend is a singer. When he reaches Arizona, he thumbs a ride with a dissipated gambler who relates a disturbing tale about a female hitchhiker he recently encountered. From that point on, the film travels quickly into nightmare territory with border crossings into paranoia, death and despair.