A Perfect Getaway Review

The Film

Because of the recession and the small fact of the rest of the world hating us, we don't like to go abroad as much as we used to. Western man and woman are too busy managing their overdrafts and worrying about the fact that people can now make explosive underpants and get on aeroplanes to ruin our holiday before we ever get there. Travel agents have had a terrible few years, what with terrorism and that pesky carbon neutral business that keeps most of us awake at night as we calculate the uncomfortable balance between killing our planet and having our fun. This is why the advertising industry tries to convince us to leave our shores with commercials featuring Jamie and Louise Redknapp being sickeningly happy abroad and not considering for a second that the number of people, terrorists and all, that might want them to have a fatal accident increases with every ad break.
In such a climate, David Twohy's A Perfect Getaway can therefore either be seen as unfortunately or perfectly timed, depending on your point of view. A film about blissful couples on holiday in Hawaii being hunted by an awfully twisted couple could be seen as validating our fears about the scary world we can no longer afford to visit, or equally seen as asking us to feel sympathy for people who are decidedly better off than us. More importantly given the possibly fatal circumstances of happy couples in the film, I wondered if it could provide me with any tips that would shorten the very public unions of former injury prone footballers and failed pop singers everywhere.

Sadly Twohy's film tries to be everything to everyone and ends up with the split personalities of its characters mirrored in the film itself due to some pretty manipulative and insulting writing. The identities of hunted and hunter are shifted back and forth with the intention of creating tension and this culminates in a 20 minute reveal of everything we've just spent 70 minutes watching so that we can marvel at its clever twist whilst simultaneously despairing at the idiots that this takes us for as viewers. For all its black and white glory and cleverness, this reveal betrays real contempt for the viewer in its clumsy inelegant stupidity. This is no Keyser Soze moment but twenty whole minutes of patronising empty headed garbage.
**The following paragraph contains some indirect spoilers regarding the film's twist so skip over it if you'd rather avoid them**

Whole conversations between characters, that were toe clenchingly dull to sit through the first time, are re-played with added bits and CONTEXT. Worse is to come as just in case we haven't twigged the truth, the characters whom we thought were good are now very BAD indeed, and the ones that were gauche and a bit creepy are suddenly love's young dream. This is underscored by an ongoing post modern and ironic discourse on movies, where cliché is exposed and novelty is praised just to make it seem like you're watching something that might not decimate your IQ. The real irony though is that after all that clever chat the whole thing boils down to wafer thin characters where bad equals killer and two dimensional dweebs are meant to engage your sympathy or revulsion.

Now I'm not expecting something like Antonioni where the action or solution never arrives, this is a Hollywood movie after all, but all the false starts and twists of perception pile up so high that it would have been quite interesting to just play with the anticipation and never quite pay off with the expected denouement. Or at least to do something different or novel as a conclusion, yet what we end up with is a botched badly written finale that someone has spent too long in the editing room hoping to fix.
Still lack of character, sense, or rigorous plotting may not put you off, or you may buy the shockingly implausible redemption of the female murderer that occurs in the blink of a dozing eyelid in the director's cut. Sadly I must also report that even if you hoped to learn some handy hints to stop Redknapp related annoyances there is nothing new to be gleaned here in terms of foolproof extermination methods. In fact this film gave me nothing of any use so you may indeed like A Perfect Getaway but I'd be at a loss to understand why.

Technical Specs

The film is available in two cuts with each version presented in full here as an individual file. This means that although this is a dual layer disc this is largely because there are two versions of the main feature weighing in at 20GB or so upon it. The differences between the director's cut and the theatrical cut are about ten minutes in duration so if you can bear to watch this twice I'm sure that variety will add to your existence. The transfer is encoded using the AVC/MPEG 4 codec and the transfer seems to carry a very light grain and a particularly digital appearance. This seems to be quite deliberate though as the look of the film is very bright and sunny. Colours are bright, greens looked very high to me and the edges of the image are very natural looking. Detail is a little unimpressive and contrast is never an issue as nearly the whole movie is in brilliant sunshine. This is an acceptable if not stunning treatment.
Audio is offered in standard 5.1 and master audio soundtracks. The lossless audio has plenty of drive but the sound in the film leaves the atmosphere to the score rather than the stunning locations and their ambient noise. Again this was pretty satisfactory but not necessarily very noteworthy.

Disc and special features

This is a region B coded dual layer disc which begins with forced trailers and an advert for chocolate featuring a lady wearing far too much make-up. The main menu starts by offering the viewer the choice of theatrical or director's cuts and the extras offered for each transfer are the same - an alternate ending and a making of featurette. The alternate ending seems to have largely been created to please existing perceptions of Milla Jovovich and I won't spoil it by telling you why, it is included in 1080P with standard sound.

The featurette is basically some onset interviews with the four leads and some editing room banter with Twohy. The director claims he was trying to pervert paradise and the actors claim nonsense like the film "challenges" the audience and is a "fun thriller". It's a dumb PR piece and should not be taken seriously.

Summary

Well the film gave me nothing but I gave it three.

Film
3 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
5 out of 10
Overall

5

out of 10

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