Gil and Hank are two independent truckers who run into problems when they are forced to pay off traffic managers to get loads. They also have to pay off highway cops when their rigs are ...
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Gil and Hank are two independent truckers who run into problems when they are forced to pay off traffic managers to get loads. They also have to pay off highway cops when their rigs are overweight and bank loans but consider themselves lucky just to be able to keep up the interest payments. Add to that a small, frizzy-wigged highway hooker named Janice, who tempts them with her lurid charms. Written by
This is a great little movie and, judging by the lack of comment and sparse reviews here, unjustly neglected.
Apart from the three leads, the main protagonist here is America, the real USA where most people live and work and not the munchkin-land depicted in most Hollywood movies. And what a desolate wasteland it is! So that's where all the Trump supporters come from.
One good aspect of this film is that it does not outstay its welcome. Despite many long sequences of trucks barreling along, and extended views of the landscape from the cab windows, which do not advance the plot at all, the film is done at 88 mins.
One reviewer here criticizes the "unnecessarily" melodramatic ending, which abruptly slams on the handbrake. Perhaps he is right, but having recently watched a string of (mostly French) films with open or ambiguous endings, I am not in the mood to complain.
Although the two male leads are good, the star of the film is Regina Baff as Janice. She is the spiritual successor to Vera, played by Ann Savage, in "Detour" (1945), a similar and even briefer low budget effort now rightly lauded as quintessential Film Noir. She even looks like her, and I am sure Baff must have modeled her performance on that of Savage - cunning, psychotic malice but with streaks of vulnerability.
I bought the DVD hoping to add another gem to my collection of "road movies". In fact, despite more of the action occurring in a moving vehicle that most any film I can recollect, it does not really fall into that genre, in which the journey is a metaphor for spiritual development of the protagonist.
This is pure Film Noir, in which the hero is trapped in a downward spiral by a combination of bad luck and poor choices, the worst of which is usually, as here, getting involved with a Femme Fatale. No hope of spiritual development here, although there are hints that Hank is beginning to see (though too late) what his partner Gil is really like.
In "The Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), Burt Lancaster's character says of Tony Curtis's character "I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic." You could not better describe Vera in "Detour", or Janice in this one.
The final shot is ominous, like something from the B-movie SciFi cheapies of the 'fifties. Having wreaked destruction on the truckers, Janice hitches a ride in a private vehicle. It is just like a virus leaving the host it has destroyed to continue its lethal infection within a new one. Which brings us back neatly to "Detour" where the protagonist's downfall is sealed once he picks up the venomous Vera.
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