You know you’re at the end of summer when you begin to see films where the top billed actors are an Academy Award Nominee, Ethan Hawke; an Academy Award winner, Jon Voight; and a child star that’s currently hoping to transition into “tougher” role, Selena Gomez.
Review Score: 3/5
When viewing the trailer for “Getaway,” I had the same reaction as many other people. It looks like your run-of-the-mill action movie with high-speed chase scenes and enough car wreckage for the studio to amass its own personal junkyard. Then Selena Gomez appears on screen, resulting in a modicum of confusion until you remember that she was in “Spring Breakers.”
The story follows Brent Magna, played by Ethan Hawke, a retired NASCAR driver whose wife is kidnapped by some sort of mysterious criminal played by Jon Voight. Magna is forced to follow the man’s instructions, namely, steal a car and wreak all sorts of havoc, or his wife will be killed. In the process of following those instructions, he inadvertently kidnaps the car’s original owner – a teenager played by Selena Gomez – and is forced to take her along with him.
Everything starts weirdly as we see a combination of three different approaches mixed into one when it comes to explaining the setup;
with none of those approaches being the direct approach as the film can’t decide whether to do it via flashback or exposition. Add that with some of the editing choices and mild inconsistencies in those flashbacks, and the film stalls at the starting line.
The headache-inducing chase scenes and cinematography look like they were planned by somebody who was given a whole bunch of GoPro cameras for his/her birthday and was just so excited to use them, that they made a movie.
This leads to a few moments, one scene from the third act in particular, when one of the shots that may have sounded like a cool idea in pre-production is held too long.
A POV chase scene will get people to buy D-Box tickets, but do you really have to have a 2-minute POV shot where it’s nothing but the camera getting close to the van it’s chasing, only to not have anything productive actually happen?
Selena Gomez is trying too hard. You don’t want the main female lead to be seen as an innocent girl, but I have trouble taking the plot seriously when you’ve got a kid holding Ethan Hawke at gunpoint and trying to sound tough – because it comes across as exactly that.
The final “plot-twist” could have been interesting, but the way it was delivered was overindulgent and negated the initial effect the plot twist could’ve had. While I can’t go into too much detail, let me just say that they seemed to be really excited to showcase the one instance of CGI they had in the film.
“Getaway” is a mildly entertaining action movie that is just acting as a placeholder until the holiday movie season.
The action scenes feature some creative ideas, but the pacing and shot choices of those scenes made it feel boring. In terms of acting, the performances aren’t the worst I’ve seen in a film, but the writing definitely needed some polish in terms of characterization.
This is a film that’s best left as a rental, as viewing it in a low-light environment may induce head and eye-aches in some viewers. On my personal scale, I give “Getaway” a 3/5.