Loved Speed? Liked the Saw franchise? Ever thought those Fast and Furious movies would be so much better if the camera cut to a new perspective every four seconds and didn’t have such a complicated plot? Does being strapped down to a chair with your eyes forced open while strobe lights go off sound like an awesome way to spend 90 minutes?
Answering yes to all these questions is likely the only way you could enjoy Getaway, a cinematic catastrophe where the filmmakers seemed less intent on entertaining their audience so much as inducing nausea and seizures.
I’m convinced this is less a movie than an insidious torture device designed to test moviegoers’ breaking point.
Director Courtney Solomon doesn’t bother setting up the film and puts us right into the action, the last bit of sensible pacing he manages to accomplish for the film.
Former race car driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) arrives to a ransacked home and finds his wife, Leanne, (Rebecca Budig) has been taken. Since he can’t call in Liam Neeson, Brent is forced to obey the commands of a mysterious voice (Jon Voight) if he hopes to see Leanne again. That includes stealing a Shelby Super Snake Mustang and engaging in high speed chases with police and cause massive property damage.
Along the way, Brent encounters a teenage girl (Selena Gomez, Spring Breakers), who claims the Mustang is hers. She’s important enough to be his sidekick, but not important enough to bother getting a name.
While she’s not dry-humping teddy bears like her fellow ex-Disney teen star Miley Cyrus, Gomez is taking roles that attempt to show a more mature side, but she’s just not that good at playing a bad girl. Between her baby face and current acting skill, she’s hardly convincing regardless of how many f-bombs she uses. Although he’s the film’s one bright spot, Hawke wearily seems to understand he’s better than the material.
Hopefully debuting screenwriters Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker didn’t spend more than 15 minutes on this script otherwise I’d be seriously disappointed. This is a generic video game plot. Not one of those well-written current generation video games, mind you. I’m talking the old school 8-bit era where all you need to know is written on the box cover — ‘The Evil Voice has your wife! Team with The Kid to save her! Race against the clock!’ That’s Getaway in a nutshell, a terrible video game movie not based on an actual video game.
Solomon should be charged with reckless directing and editing while under the influence of bad filmmaking.
The film reportedly had 6,150 edits in it — just a bit over the standard 1,600. Solomon confuses extreme editing with conveying a sense of breakneck speed. Instead, he just gives you a clearer sense of what it’s like to experience motion sickness or vertigo. The action gets repetitive after the first 8-minute race scene and Solomon only knows how to make it more absurd as he goes on and lays in the explosions thick in the second half.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the film’s best scene is the one where Solomon simply calms down and stages a long take of Brent trying to catch a car. It’s such a fun, creative and actually exhilarating scene that it feels out of place with the rest of the confusion, but if you can stomach the rest, it’s a solid payoff.
For the rest of us, pass the Dramamine or take the title literally and simply getaway from this disaster.