Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Perfect Getaway

Written & Directed by: David Twohy

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez.

Rating: 7/10

How much you like this film depends on how much you like films that sell themselves solely on the fact that there is going to be a twist at the end; and how much you enjoy the twist when it inevitably occurs. The set-up is classic. A couple of newlyweds, Sidney (Jovovich) and Cliff (Zahn) decide to spend their honeymoon backpacking to a paradise beach in Hawaii only to find on their arrival that there has been a grisly murder and police are looking for a young couple as suspects. They have, of course, encountered two other young couples, both of whom are oddly threatening, but possibly harmless. There’s Nicko and Gina a fun-loving, outdoorsy couple, but Nicko’s tall tales of being an “American Jedi” and Gina’s ability to gut a goat soon raise Sidney and Cliff’s suspicions. There’s also the creepy and clearly disturbed Kale (Hemsworth) and Cleo (Shelton) who are shadowy and suspicious, but are they dangerous?

The setup creates immediate tension and it’s only in retrospect that I realise how few scares there are in this film and how few actual threats appear throughout. The sense of looming fear is built up through the audience’s own paranoia as they try to figure out who the murderous duo is. Credit is due to writer/director David Twohy for managing to create this much tension without the cover of night. The entire film is set during the day, and in perfect sunshine. Few other films have used this conceit successfully and there’s irony to be found in the fact that this is the director of Pitch Black which works upon the opposite gimmick of being stuck in the dark.

Apart from some very irritating and sooo 90’s ironic dialogue about movie structure and plot devices between the characters this is a decent thriller with a lot going for it. However, I personally found the twist to be a little hokey and when the third act got into full swing it just started to get ridiculous. However, ridiculous can often lead to some really cool gore, which was the case here. An average suspense-thriller with a better than average cast (Olyphant and Sanchez are particularly great as the couple with the ever-evolving personas), A Perfect Getaway is by no means a great film but it is definitely an entertaining one.
If you’re looking for something to watch on a Saturday night you could do far worse than this.This is definitely an enjoyable piece of cinema, if not the most challenging. After a good first and second act it descends into madness in the third act and all plausibility goes out the window. On the other hand, it is well-crafted, nicely acted and delivers the tension required for a thriller of this kind.

- Charlene Lydon

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