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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Getaway’ a thriller with no traction

    After+Dark+Films
    After Dark Films

    A number of witty quips could be made about how “Getaway” crashes and burns, that you should get away from “Getaway” or that “Getaway” is running on empty. However, instead of running car puns into the ground, here is some simple advice: Do not spend money on this movie, which consists almost entirely of the two main characters riding in a car.

    The movie’s plot: Thugs kidnap retired racecar driver Brent Magna’s (Ethan Hawke, “Training Day”) wife, Leanne (Rebecca Budig). In their ransacked apartment, Brent Magna receives a phone call from a mysterious voice (Jon Voight, “National Treasure”) instructing him to get in a souped-up car, outfitted with cameras inside and out. When Brent Magna obeys, the unknown voice tells him that he will be carrying out various tasks in this car, the man behind the voice watching him all the while. If Brent Magna refuses, his wife will be killed.

    Along the way, Brent Magna picks up “The Kid” (Selena Gomez, “Spring Breakers”) after she tries to steal the car — which, it turns out, actually belonged to her in the first place. The two form an unlikely duo as they drive around Bulgaria, carrying out the voice’s commands while trying to figure out what its endgame is.

    While the poster for this movie may lead potential viewers to believe that the main actors in “Getaway” are Hawke and Gomez, the Shelby Mustang Super Snake really deserves the credit. The “tasks” from the voice usually consist of causing wanton destruction, from driving into a park filled with people to eluding police officers.

    The car is crashed, flipped, swerved, shot at and rammed so many times that the audience becomes immune to the rush that usually comes from a well-done action sequence. Chase scenes are typically used as rising action to break up the monotony of slower scenes; when they’re the entirety of the film, the excitement soon flatlines.

    Director Courtney Solomon and Director of Photography Yaron Levy use the numerous cameras attached to the inside and outside of the car in shooting and editing the action sequences. It’s more than possible that the cameras were made a part of the story simply so that each scene could be shot from about 10 different angles in each take, providing maximum coverage. The movie switches between the different cameras so haphazardly that it becomes a daunting task just to understand what is happening onscreen. Additionally, some of the camera placements are simply unnecessary, such as the one that randomly offers a vantage point from behind the gear shifter.

    The one remarkably composed shot from the movie occurs near the end. and comes in contrast to the frantic editing — an almost two-minute long take from the hood of the Mustang as it gives chase to the villain’s van — a much needed quiet moment amid this movie’s cacophony.

    So much action leaves little room for sustained dialogue throughout the film. The vast majority of the talking in “Getaway” simply consists of exclamations from the two characters as they experience their umpteenth near-death experience. Gomez tells Hawke that he’s a horrible driver for the tenth time, even though his driving is the only thing keeping them alive; Hawke tells Gomez to put on her seat belt for the fifth time, which shouldn’t be a request he should have to make since they are barreling down crowded city streets at 80 miles per hour and getting shot at by grenade launchers. Clearly, the script is not the film’s strong point.

    In terms of acting, one can only guess why Hawke is slumming it up by starring in this film. Miraculously, he is able to bring a certain level of honest desperation and feeling to the part.

    Gomez, however, is another story entirely and constantly struggles to deliver a single convincing line. Even simple, throwaway exclamations — “You’re going to get us killed!” or “Watch out!” — are somehow made cringeworthy by Gomez’s delivery. Unfortunately, her performance isn’t the sole blemish of an otherwise successful production, but rather the latest item on a laundry list of issues.

    For fast high-end cars, viewers should turn to “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. For an action film set in Europe involving the kidnapping of a loved one, rent “Taken.” To experience what it’s like to be stuck in a bumpy car ride for 94 minutes, a drive through the Grant Road Corridor Improvement is likely more enjoyable than “Getaway.”

    Grade: D

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