August 13, 2009
Review - " Perfect Getaway " - (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Later, once the newlyweds begin hiking through the rocky land, they meet a more kindly couple, Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and
Gina (Kiele Sanchez). The four of them hit it off well enough and decide to hike the rest of the way together. Along the way,
they hear word of recent murders taking place in Honolulu - committed supposedly by a man-and-woman team - and soon
thereafter, they cross paths with an understandably peeved Kale and Cleo. Immediately, Cliff and Cydney suspect that the
hitchhikers could be the killers.
Soon, however, paranoia makes the newlyweds begin to eye their companions with suspicion. Nick carries a knife and tells
horror stories about his time as a special ops soldier, while Gina seems to know a bit too much about gutting a goat. With no
shortage of suspects, Cliff and Cydney must keep their heads on a swivel as they trek through the wilderness, desperately
trying to reach civilization before the killers strike again.
Critics have harped on the fact that the first part of the film is too talky but I didn’t mind that at all, especially when the actors
are all in varying degrees of stretching their well-established personas. It’s refreshing to see actors acting.
One of the travelers on this supposedly perfect island vacation keeps talking about screenwriting devices like red herrings
(though he mistakenly calls them red snappers) and second-act twists. It's a gimmick, and a self-conscious one at that.
Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich are the main characters so everything is funneled through them. Zahn is bug-eyed and
intense, a man happy for a new start and eager to discuss being a screenwriter. Jovovich adds layers of humanity to what
could have been a shallow role. Timothy Olyphant is a macho Iraq war vet with a rewired skull and a nasty scar. He tells very
tall tales and likes to scare new friends. He also knows his way around a knife. His wife Gina (Kiele Sanchez) is the kind of
girl who is always down for a good time, if you get my meaning. They ride life on the wild side. The hitchhikers, Cleo
(Marley Shelton) and Kale (Chris Hemsworth) show up unannounced and certainly appear the wild and dangerous types.
The ensemble cast performs admirably, particularly Zahn as the uptight fish out of water and Olyphant as the friendly but
imbalanced loose cannon. Unlike most genre films, each of the three couples has a unique and realistic identity, a refreshing
depth of character culled from both the script and the actors. Olyphant and Sanchez have an appealing chemistry with each
other, though, and add just the right amount of weirdness. He's an ex-military man with tall tales of fighting in Iraq, she's a
twangy and slightly dangerous Southern girl who says lovingly of her man, "Yeah, he's really hard to kill."
Gee, what could that possibly mean?
It's up to us to figure out who the killers might be, with Twohy yanking us in one direction or another. One character is
carrying a parole officer's business card in a backpack with the date of an upcoming appointment, for example; another is
inordinately skilled at gutting and grilling a freshly slaughtered goat. Again, all silly, goosey fun.
The big reveal comes not at the climax of the film but in
order to set up the third act. The entire final act is
comprised of the remaining innocent hikers trying to avoid
slaughter by the killer couple. But if you're paying attention
to Twohy’s trickery – it’s not hard to figure out which of the
three couples isn’t there to get away from it all. And I’ll
admit that once the flashbacks kick in, the movie is darkly
inventive about who the killers are and how they roll.
But while "A Perfect Getaway" has its moments of
suspense, it's never truly frightening, even once the big
reveal takes place and the bodies start stacking up. After
toying with us, Twohy's reliance on standard shootings
and stabbings is really rather boring.
A Perfect getaway
Directed by: David Twohy
Starring: Steve Zahn, Mila Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant,
Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton, Chris Hemsworth
Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are a
pair of clean-cut newlyweds from the snootiest sections
of Los Angeles who head to Hawaii for their honeymoon.
They plan a three-day hiking trip to a remote beach and
along the way, Cliff stops their jeep to pick up a couple
of hitchhikers, Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley
Shelton). Noticing their straggly clothes, though, Cliff
makes up an excuse and leaves the sketchy pair by the
side of the road.