I wasn't sure from the trailers if I wanted to see it or not (I like Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, and Timothy Olyphant), but then I found out it was written and directed by David Twohy, who also wrote/directed one of my favorite horror films, Pitch Black (and later The Chronicles of Riddick). It bumped up much higher on my list. And then I started reading really good reviews for it, which bumped it up more. So I finally went and saw this yesterday.

A Perfect Getaway (double entendre and all) is about newlywed couple Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich), honeymooning in Hawaii. Along the way they meet creepy hitchhikers, Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton). And not long after that, they meet the slightly strange, but mostly endearing couple Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez). But then they discover that on the neighboring island of Oahu, there was a murder, and the police are looking for a man and woman couple as suspects. And with all three couples having been on Oahu on the day of the murder, it could have been any of them... though nobody's about to come out and point fingers.

The movie isn't the horror/slasher flick that the trailer makes it out to be. This film is more of a slow-burn paranoid thriller with the action picking up in the third act. And although it does make you second guess yourself on who you think the killer is, your first instinct is probably right. I figured it out just by watching the trailer... but that doesn't necessarily ruin a movie for me. I did the same thing for the film Identity, and I still really liked that movie. Though, while you might guess the whodunit, you might not figure out the whydunit. I felt that really helped bring it up a few notches to save it from overall predictability. The writing of the film was so detailed and great that everything is kept ambiguous and out in the open to keep you second guessing yourself, only to figure out later how all of those second guessing moments fit together with the plot. And, again, the WHY was so much more interesting than the WHO (I'd actually go out on a limb and say that David Twohy knew this from the start and focused on the story more than relying on the whodunit twist).

As for the actors, they all did a pretty good job. Milla Jovovich has some good moments, and Steve Zahn really does a bang-up job. The other couple (Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth) aren't really in the movie all that much, but they do an all-around decent job of being creepy. But the true scene stealer is Timothy Olyphant. Seriously, this guy really stole the show. He was charismatic, interesting, and sometimes a little strange. But he really pulls it off and becomes the real star of the movie.

Something else I really liked about the movie was its meta-qualities. It's a movie that talks about movies, as Zahn's character is a screenwriter. And, of course, like in Scream, there are things that are discussed about the genre at hand that must always happen (red herrings, the second-act twist).

As I said before, the movie is a slow-burner. It builds up the suspense and paranoia (and the clues) until the third act. And then, after the red herrings and the second-act twist, the movie really shifts into gear. And it really changes in all respects. The action in non-stop, keeping the adrenaline pumping until the end. Even the gore--as before this point, there really isn't any at all--picks up. It's not overwhelming for people who can't handle gore; it's not Saw-level or anything. The film also becomes rather stylish. There are some flashback moments that explain scenes earlier in the film, and then there are some other flashback moments that take us before that to do a bit of character building and other explanations. And all of these moments are done in a silvery overtone that looks pretty cool. Then, when the chasing starts, there's an awesome bit where the screen keeps shifting in these wipe-kinda things that looks really cool and was a great little bit of editing. And then the overall use of the camera in general.

Overall, the movie was very good. It had beautiful shots of the island, great camera and editing work, good-to-great acting, some really fun characters, and great writing with a surprisingly intriguing story (once it all comes to light). The only things I could point out as negative were that it is a slow-burn and therefore has moments that almost drag before picking up again, as well as that the movie is a bit predictable. But again, I think the movie and story was good enough to trump the predictability. So really, it was another good job by Mr. Twohy.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


  1. Ok ok, I'm officially interested in seeing this. It's towards the back of the line, but if we go on a movie run, we'll hit it.

    How's the job?

  2. Olyphant really was great with his American Jedi shtick. I've always liked him, Zahn and Milla so this flick was a win-win for me. Had figured it'd be ok, but it's turned out to be one of the more enjoyable films I've seen this summer.

  3. Fletch: I'm not sure how *much* you'll like it, considering you're not all fanatic about thrillers to begin with, but I still think you'll still like it to some (positive) degree.

    Reel: Yeah... the American Jedi thing was funny :P

  4. "considering you're not all fanatic about thrillers to begin with"

    Thrillers I'm cool with. Very cool with. Murder mysteries and dramas like that - great. It's slasher/horror/gore/torture porn flicks that I don't care for all that much, unless they're damn well made. Though I guess some people might classify one movie as a thriller and someone else might call it something else. I can usually tell by the trailer. (Haven't watched the one for Getaway yet.)

  5. Oh, right then. So you might really enjoy it, then. Like I said in the review, I wouldn't base the genre on the trailer. It's one of those that makes it look like something it isn't (mostly because the majority of it is from act 3, where all the action is).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.