Detour (2016) Movie Review

Director: Christopher Smith

Writer: Christopher Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, Emory Cohen, John Lynch, Stephen Moyer, Gbenga Akinnagbe

Plot: A young law student blindly enters into a pact with a hoodlum who offers to kill his stepfather – a man he feels is responsible for the accident that sent his mother into a coma.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Overly Twisty

Story: Detour starts when law student Harper James (Sheridan) is seeing his mother slowly dying in the hospital after an accident he blames on his stepfather Vincent (Moyer), he decides to have a drink, which leads him to bump into connected criminal Johnny Ra (Cohen) and after getting chatting, they make a deal to kill Vincent.

The deal doesn’t go as planned for Harper though, as he wants out thinking it was just a drunk conversation, only to find himself on a road trip with Johnny and dancer Cherry (Powley) to get the job done.

Thoughts on Detour

Characters – Harper is a law student that has played his life pretty safely for the most part, he has seen his mother injured in a car accident with little chance of recovering and ends up meeting a season criminal with connections that could help him get rid of his stepfather and is forced to go along with this scheme. He does seem to be a lot smarter than he makes out to be to Johnny. Cherry is a dancer that follows Johnny on any of his plans, she does get closer with Harper. Johnny Ray is the aggressive criminal that likes how Harper talks, willing to accept his offer to kill his stepfather for a fee, by having no connections between the two.

PerformancesTye Sheridan does continue to show his acting abilities with his role here where he always looks insecure about what is happening despite always looking like he is in control too. Bel Powley does give her character some sympathy, though we don’t learn enough about her in the long run, while Emory Cohen is as hot headed as you would imagine him to be.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that wants to get revenge for his mother’s comatose, turning to a criminal to help him murder his step father, only to find himself in a position where he is losing control. This does seem like it is going to be one story, only to spin a lot on its head through the film. The way this story is told is interesting and at times difficult to follow because of the choice to not tell the story in a linear style doesn’t always help all the scenes unfold properly. It does mean you have to watch most scenes twice, to pick up on little clues, though most don’t seem to have enough hints going on through them.

ActionThe action in the film is pretty tame with more about almost happening, rather than something actually happening.

SettingsThe film is set on the road, which does show how calculated the plan is unfolding.

Scene of the Movie – The first change in the way we see the story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many repeated scenes.

Final Thoughts This is an action film that doesn’t have too much action and tries to bend the storytelling process too often for its own good.

Overall: Simple Action.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – K – Kajaki (2014) Movie Review

Director: Paul Katis

Writer: Tom Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle, Benjamin O’Mahony, Bryan Parry, Liam Ainsworth

Plot: Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg – or your life.

Tagline – A film about bravery, courage, heroism and the ultimate sacrifice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense

Story: Kajaki starts as we meet the British soldiers in Afghanistan, doing general patrols in the heat, we see how they don’t get along with the locals and on a routine patrol Stu Hale (O’Mahony) steps on a landmine blowing his leg off, with the rest of the unit needing to come together to keep him safe and prepare him for transfer.

As they tend to the injured solider, they discover they are in a minefield, with Mark Wright (Elliot), Stu Pearson (Kyle) getting hit next, leaving Tug Hartley (Stanley) to risk his own life to try and tend to their injuries.

Thoughts on Kajaki

Characters – The characters are based on the real soldiers, they don’t get anything to make them over the top, they all free grounded, which is important, we follow soldiers that are going about their duty and either get injured by landmines or must work to save the lives of the others, we get to see moments of heroic actions, but most of the film is following the characters needing to remain calm through the situation.

PerformancesThe performances during the film are strong, like the characters, the actors make the characters feel realistic, showing the pain suffered, with the reaction of the ones watching over.

StoryThe story follows a unit of soldiers that find themselves in the middle of a mine field with some injured, others needing to remain calm while treating the injured. This is based on real event, which saw the soldiers trapped. We do see this happen with a sudden impact, which is filled with shock for us, with the wounds looking as horrific are they were. While some of the story does go slowly because a lot of it is mostly waiting for rescue and just people needing to remain calm, which does slow down the intensity you would have imagined seeing them in the film.

Biopic/WarThe biopic side of the film shows just how the men were standard and used their skills to survive, while the war side of the film shows that danger that can be found around any corner.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to show how the one location could become a death trap, a place where they couldn’t survive with ease.

Scene of the Movie – The sudden blast one, it surprises us when it happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the film suffers from lulls which shouldn’t be here.

Final Thoughts This is an important moment that shows how soldiers must remain calm through difficult situations and the real events are show in brutal realism.

Overall: Brutal, though Slow.