Detour is the masterpiece of this type of film. More shots cut into 15 pieces, 283 cuts in 69 minutes, or 47 cuts a day, doubtless derived from 25 filmed shots. This film, conceived to the PRC rule, has amazingly survived the oblivion for which it was designed. So we have a cult-film released in France forty-eight years after its making – that’s a record – which captivates all true filmmakers: a model of rigour, a Greek tragedy that transcends its banal material.
In recent years Chicago's Edgar G. Ulmer cultists have made exuberant claims for this chameleon auteur's late career efforts, such as THE CAVERN and THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN. Without discounting those works, it's DETOUR that remains Ulmer's classic, with its total congruence between aesthetic means and thematic ends...
Glauber Rocha has nothing on Edgar G. Ulmer’s aesthetics of hunger. This threadbare bondage-noir masterpiece grinds "Double Indemnity" into powdered milk, moving from one magnificently decomposing shot to another until its circular roads become the stuff of nightmares.