I was quite excited to finally get a chance to see this much-lauded, low-budget B-movie. The plot is simple: after she dumps him, an East coast man decides to follow his fiancee out to California. Short on funds, he hitchhikes. He’s picked up by a man who may not be who he seems to be. Shortly afterward, our hero winds up in the position to pick up his own hitchhiker, and his life will never be the same. The story is cleverly filled with the kind of paranoia one expects from classic film noir, but beyond that I wound up disappointed. I suppose the fact that the director was able to squeeze as much as he did out of a few sets and stock shots is a feat, but I couldn’t overlook the suffocating portrayal of characters I loathed even more than they loathed themselves. Roger Ebert, surprisingly a fan, aptly described the actors as “a man who can only pout and a woman who can only sneer,” and Richard Corliss, who chose it for Time’s “All-time 100 Best Films” labeled it as an “uncompromisingly bleak tale of a sadist and a schlemiel.” With such scant merits, it simply wasn’t fun. If Detour is on your radar and you can afford the thankfully short run time of 68 minutes, go for it. Otherwise choose another one of the multitude of film noir classics out there.