Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Detour Movie Poster Image
Mature thriller has interesting characters, some surprises.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters make the wrong kind of choices, without consequences and sometimes with rewards.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are generally hurting or mean and don't seem to know how to ask for the right kind of help or to find positive solutions for anything. Nothing is learned.


Fighting, stabbing. Some blood. Dead body. A cop kicks one character. Gun drawn. Man hit by truck. Man hits a woman; she hits him back. References to guns and shooting, as well as to a man suffocating a baby.


Brief porn video on computer (woman's naked behind, man thrusting); masturbating. Topless women. Major character is a prostitute. Pole-dancers in club (not totally naked). Innuendo. Women in bikinis, objectified.


Constant, extremely strong language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls---," "t-ts," "c--k," "p---y," "a--hole," "d--k," "gay" (as a slur), "whore," "ass," "cretin," "swear to God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A college student tells a long story about dropping acid. A college student gets slurring drunk in a bar, with consequences. Secondary character snorts coke. References to weed. Smoking. Social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Detour is a mature, violent crime thriller that plays around with timelines. There's fighting, stabbing, and killing (some blood); a dead body; and scenes with guns. A man hits a woman, and she hits him back. On the sex front, a man is shown watching porn on his computer (the video shows a woman's naked behind and a man thrusting) and masturbating. One of the main characters is a prostitute, and women are shown topless and in skimpy outfits. Language is extremely strong with constant use of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "c--k," "p---y," "a--hole," and much more. A college-age student boasts about an intense acid trip, and another gets very drunk in a bar, with consequences. Another character snorts cocaine, and there are references to marijuana, as well as smoking and more social drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAliho L. May 29, 2017


Adult action drama showing the darker sides of life experiences in a retro noir film. This movie uses spilt imaging on screen at times depicting the story... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In DETOUR, young law student Harper (Tye Sheridan) is going through a tough time. His mother is in a coma and isn't expected to live long, and his stepfather doesn't seem too concerned about her, flitting off for so-called "business trips" to Las Vegas. Drunk in a bar one night, Harper crosses paths with hoodlum Johnny Ray (Emory Cohen) and wonders what it would take to eliminate his stepfather for good. The next day, Johnny Ray and prostitute Cherry (Bel Powley) show up, ready to do the job in exchange for $20,000. From there, the story diverges into two possible paths. But it's only a matter of time before the timeline detour collides with Harper's ultimate destiny.

Is it any good?

Hardly the first crime movie to play around with timelines (and not always successful at doing so), this thriller gets away with it due to intriguing characters, a snappy pace, and a few surprises. Written and directed by Christopher Smith (Severance, Get Santa), Detour pulls a couple of dirty little tricks that fool the audience, not necessarily in a good way, and it's sometimes confusing. Viewers will have to go back and think twice about what they've seen to make sense of it. Yet the movie is good-natured and colorful and somehow manages to avoid looking and sounding like yet another a fifth-rate Quentin Tarantino rip-off.

Instead, Detour pays tribute to classic movies, especially to another movie called Detour -- from 1946 -- which Harper watches in one scene. And the name "Harper" comes from a 1966 Paul Newman movie (Sheridan's character has a poster from it in his room). Plus, Smith casts his actors cleverly; Sheridan (The Tree of Life, Mud) is a decent everyman, and Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) brings smarts to her character, while Cohen (Brooklyn) is captivatingly volatile. All in all, it's a relatively minor thriller, but has enough surprises and interesting characters to be enjoyable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Detour's violence. Does it seem intended to shock or thrill? How did it make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How does the movie handle sex? Are women objectified? Is sex portrayed as romantic or otherwise? What message does that send?

  • What are the consequences of drinking and drugs? Does the movie glamorize substance use? Why does that matter?

  • How did you feel about the movie's alternative timeline?

  • What's the appeal of movies about criminals?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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