September 5, 2013
Getaway (No Stars)
Getaway is one of the most astonishingly bad films I’ve seen this year and believe me when I say that—I’ve seen plenty. People often say to me ‘oh it must be great to get to see as many films as you do.’ Films like this one provide ample proof that reviewing films is not always the barrel of fun that it looks to be on the outside looking in. If I were to meet someone in my day-to-day life who professed to actually liking this film I would immediately begin to question the person’s IQ or lack thereof. Yes, it’s that bad. That may sound like a pompous statement but try to make it through this movie and see if you don’t come away from the experience feeling suspicious of anyone who professes adoration for it. While sitting through it I was reminded of the great Roger Ebert quote-I’m paraphrasing- when he noted that a particular film he was reviewing was a perfect date film. His line was something along the lines of, ‘if your date likes it then don’t take them out again.’ Getaway would qualify for that kind of litmus test.
Ethan Hawke is the star of the film. He received a ton of great critical notices for his work in Before Midnight earlier this year, the third installment in his Before trilogy.
Gomez & Hawke, waiting for the director to say ‘cut!’
Apparently Hawke had no problem squandering all of that goodwill by appearing in Getaway. Pop star Selena Gomez also appears here but this is something along the lines you would expect her to appear in. Hawke, on the other hand, should know better. Not to mention co-star Jon Voight who, literally, phones in his performance.
The film’s plot is basically a series of endless car chases, with Hawke’s character attempting to drive at high speed, elude the law and save his kidnapped wife from the clutches of the Jon Voight character. The film begins with a series of flashbacks illustrating to the audience exactly how Hawke’s character’s wife was kidnapped and then crosscutting with Hawke receiving instructions on what to do if he wants to see his wife alive. This includes stealing a car, which turns out to be owned by the Gomez character, a spoiled little rich girl who spouts the most generic dialogue imaginable. The film then devolves into a series of car chases that are guaranteed to bore any discerning filmgoer to tears.
The problem with the film is that we never get a real sense of the characters or their past. In order for a pic like this to work, it is essential that the audience empathize with its characters. When the characters are given no backstory for the audience to draw from it makes it awfully hard to generate any interest in what is happening onscreen. What we’re left with then is a seemingly endless parade of interminable chase scenes that are so mind numbingly dull you’ll be wishing you had checked out long before you actually do. I certainly wished I had.
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