Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Detour: There Will Be Mud
if the taxes and wildfires were not bad enough, here is yet another reason to
avoid California. Trapped in his SUV, an
ambitious advertising exec asks how the Golden State can have mudslides when
there isn’t any water. It is a fair
question, but it is obviously rhetorical in William Dickerson’s claustrophobic survival
drama, Detour (trailer here), which opens
today in New York.
was on his way to a pitch meeting (sort of like that three hour cruise) when
the picturesque stretch of coastal highway suddenly turned to mud. Buried underneath who knows how much gunk, he
has no cell service and a limited supply of food and water. For temporary distractions (and exposition
purposes) he can play videos on his smart phone, allowing viewers to meet his
wife. Evidently she is pregnant, but he
did not receive the news with spectacular good cheer.
the mud presses in on his vehicle’s structural integrity, Jackson improvises
reinforcements. He is actually pretty
handy for an ad man. In fact, Dickerson
and co-writer Dwight Moody are quite faithful observing the constraints they
impose on their hapless protagonist.
However, their flashbacks and delusional interludes are nakedly
its apparent simplicity, the one-man-against-the-elements genre (in the
tradition of 127 Hours) is hard to
pull off. Staginess is obviously an
inherent pitfall. Still, Neil Hopkins
soldiers through reasonably well. While
he is forced to mutter to himself quite a bit, he largely sells the messages he
leaves on his iPhone, perhaps for posterity.
Unfortunately, the sequences outside the mud-trap are flat and
awkward. Odder still, it is difficult to
tell whether the final scene is meant to be inspiring, ironic, or ambiguous,
which is clearly an execution problem.
is far from classic, but it is certainly
presentable by b-movie standards.
Nonetheless, it is tough to justify at full Manhattan ticket prices,
particularly with Aftershock, the Eli
Roth-penned Chilean disaster smack-down, waiting in the wings. At least worth falling into eventually on
cable, Detour opens today (3/29) in
New York at the Cinema Village (and is now available on VOD platforms).
Labels: Disaster movies