|(L-r) SELENA GOMEZ as The Kid and ETHAN HAWKE as Brent Magna in Warner Bros. Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment's action thriller "GETAWAY," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.|
Photo credit: Simon Varsano
©2013 ADF Acquisitions, LLC
2013, 89 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures, and language
Review by Joshua Handler
Getaway epitomizes late-summer junk cinema. It features two bigger-name actors and has no substance, all action. There are some redeeming aspects of Getaway, but a truly terrible script nearly kills the movie. Getaway tells the story of an innocent man, Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), who with a teen girl (Selena Gomez) drive around performing tasks around Bulgaria according to the directions of an unnamed madman who has kidnapped Magna's wife.
Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez turn in fine performances. The script doesn't ask either of them to do anything special, and they don't.
Director Courtney Solomon (An American Haunting) shows some definite potential. While this movie is riddled with logic holes and feels very cheap, Solomon directs some action scenes with particular energy. While the action is fairly generic, it kept me entertained. The action scenes feature an obscene amount of cuts which keeps the action moving at an extremely fast pace (too fast at many points). In the last part of the film, Hawke's character is chasing someone and the camera films the action from the front of Hawke's car, immersing the viewer in the action, making it feel as if they were on the chase. This shot is genius. It is quite long, and it is thrilling watching this car chase from the first-person perspective. It gave me an adrenaline rush equaled by very few movies this lamentable summer. That being said, this one shot does not save the movie.
The screenplay for Getaway is terrible. I can't imagine how someone would have let it slide with all of its logic holes. Take the following as an example. The car Magna drives is wired with cameras so that the madman can see what's happening in the car. Gomez' character finds a poorly-hidden microphone placed so that the madman can listen to Gomez and Hawke's characters. Since this is the case, it would seem smart not to reveal that you're onto the villain's plan and reveal your own where he can listen. That is not the case in Getaway, where the protagonists talk freely in front of this microphone. One would then think that the villain would punish them by killing Magna's wife. Nope. Where is the logic behind this? This is certainly the biggest hole, but unfortunately isn't the only one.
The screenplay doesn't win points for originality either. There is one very important point that is ripped directly off of the far superior Speed. The dialogue that comes out of the villain's mouth is laughable. I was never invested in the story, as it is derivative and weak. People need to realize that good action doesn't make up for a bad script. There are no two ways around it. I have been lamenting inherently good movies marred by poor screenplays all summer and I am thrilled that we are moving into fall awards season, as the best screenplays tend to surface here.
I was very bothered by the large amount of innocent policemen that are killed in Getaway. Action movies normally don't have strong morals and I do not care about morality in movies (look at my four-star review of A SERBIAN FILM), but it was mildly disturbing to watch innocent policemen killed without consequence.
Overall, Getaway is just another disposable summer junk movie. This movie is best for those looking for a really mindless time at the movies. Even then, I'd recommend that they see something else like Elysium (at least that's well-made and isn't poorly scripted). It is depressing to see a film that features a shot as excellent as the one described above blow nearly everything else. As mentioned, Solomon has potential, but he should not be directing horrid screenplays like this one.