A Perfect Getaway [2009] • USA

Some day Timothy Olyphant will land a role in a good movie and the world will ask "Where has this guy been hiding?"

I don't enjoy writing negative reviews and generally reserve the endeavor for films that feel insulting rather than simply failing to excite. Generally these are either art-house films which are too arty or selfish for their own good, or more mainstream films that use standard formulas as if we've never seen them before. A Perfect Getaway falls in the latter category.

I'm going to get spoilery here because there is no way to talk about why I didn't like this film without telling what happens, how it gets there. I will also add that I went into this film knowing nothing about it except for the title which does give some notion of the genre it is aiming for.

In a nutshell we have three couples in this film, one of them a murderous one. The first couple is Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich. They are presented, very clearly, as nerdy, naive, and wimpy. They embark on their honeymoon to some far off and secluded place in Hawaii. They hear about another newlywed couple that was murdered by another couple and so we are all set to weather the storm of how they will getaway from being murdered. The second couple is presented very early on, and very stereotypically, as most likely the killers. Right here we have the first insult. This couple, couple number 2, is insinuated into the plot in a lame attempt to take your eye off the ball. It's cheap. We know right away they are not going to turn out to be the killers, and yet we also know we are still going to have to sit through a handful of phony attempts to convince us that maybe we are wrong about that obvious conclusion.

The third couple is Timothy Olyphant. He's got a girlfriend but he is the only one important to the character development of the couple. He is mysterious. He has a badass history, carries a knife, kills an animal, and has a steel plate in his head. But he is also a nice, thoughtful guy. It's the back and forth of his mysterious goodness and badness that creates the only interesting tension in this film. And since Olyphant is a good actor his character makes for the only enjoyable aspect of the film—besides some beautiful photography of Hawaii.

To cut a long story short, it turns out that the first couple are the killers (or the first couple is the killer couple). It's a big twist! But it's completely unfeasible. So unfeasible that the film spends thirty minutes of inexplicably black and white night visioned flashback recreations to try and make the case anyway. I immediately called bullshit, stopped caring at all, and just wanted the film to be over because nothing about it mattered any more. Twists should be over with quickly. If a film has to spend an inordinate amount of time defending a twist, it's not a very good twist. I felt completely disrespected by the script. Insulted. Thrillers with twists are supposed to be somewhat mysterious throughout. This one deliberately misleads its audience in a patronizing manner, and only attempts such nonsense because it thinks its audience is gullible and stupid. Well ... right back at ya, Perfect. Getaway from me.

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