Guys… that was a perfectly good story
A Perfect Getaway (2009): 8 out of 10: For a slow-moving thriller that cheats a little, A Perfect Getaway isn’t that bad. It has gorgeous cinematography and while it ambles, it successfully builds up tension with character development rather than relying on black cats jumping out of closets or severed body parts every ten minutes.
The tale is about three couples in Hawaii, and one couple could be a pair of murders from the big island.
Our protagonist couple (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) is nerdy and goofy. Jovovich, in particular, gives a wonderfully awkward performance in body language and facial expressions.
Trying to get into the Hawaii spirit our protagonist honeymooners attempt to do a favor for a second couple hitchhiking (Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth), but Hemsworth gives off such a bad vibe that the Zahn and Jovovich are naturally concerned about running into him on the trail again.
They take refuge with the “cool” couple (Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez). Olyphant cascades charisma onto the screen, even when attempting to convince others he has a plate in his head from his Special Forces days. But even the cool couple could just as easily be the killers (after all, Olyphant seems to enjoy fondling his Special Forces knife a bit too much, and this is a movie.) All this interaction is among well-placed news reports that a non-descriptive couple is wanted for questioning for murder and are suspected of being on the same trail as our plucky honeymooners.
Director David Twohy isn’t back in Pitch Black form but he shows a surer directing hand than he did in The Chronicles of Riddick and he gets better performances out of his actors than he did in Below. In fact, for a movie with basically six people and very little action, the film rests almost exclusively on the actor’s shoulders. The actors hold up their end of the bargain across the board.
The movie cheats a bit as I stated before, but this is a thriller rather than a mystery (after all, there are only three couples in the whole film) and the journey is more fun than the reveal. In fact, the movie has such a relaxed pace and vibe you can easily forget it is a thriller at all. That’s when it gets you.
Upon a second viewing
A quick update. I watched A Perfect getaway again and bumped the score up a point to 8. Very enjoyable thriller. I was impressed with Steve Zahn’s performance this time around. He is a real cameleon in this. Movie still cheats a touch but not as bad as I felt on first viewing. The clues are there.