Thursday, 26 May 2022

Story of a Sad Sack

             If Detour was higher budgeted and more realistic (to the extent that Noir films of the period could be said to be realistic), it would harm what Ulmer set out to do with the film. There isn't a "right way" to make a film, and the unglamorous and cheap-looking settings suit a story of a sad sack fumbling through the gutter of film Noir. The movie also reflects the distortion of being from Al's point-of-view, both in visual terms and in terms of the facts of his innocence, and these distortions are often misrepresented as technical gaffes or script holes. The end result is unique and arguably post-modern. Here is a Noir story that seems to be manipulated by the main character's own psyche, and he even spends much of the film speaking to the audience, framing what we have just seen and pleading his innocence. It's as if he is molding his own memory to fit the form of an extreme Noir film, where the streets are completely covered in fog, the sad sacks are only sad and the femme fatales only fatal, and bleak fatalism rules over everyone.

Roger Ebert

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