(2009) dir. David Twohy
Just a forwarning, it’s going to be impossible for me to talk about this movie without discussing major plot points and “spoilers” so if you think I’m going to ruin it for you, well, let’s just say I told you so.
Written and directed by David Twohy, one of the smaller names in consistent semi-quality films in Hollywood, A Perfect Getaway is a film that seems at points that it could have been almost Hitchcockian (it’s not, it just could have been). The film follows a couple of newlyweds on their trip to Kauai, the “perfect getaway”, until they hear that there are supposedly some newlywed killers afoot in Hawaii who are also trying to make “a perfect getaway”. See, the double entendre in the title?
The film stars Milla Jovovich (one of Earth’s worst actresses) and Steve Zahn (one of Earth’s most limited character actors) as “the couple”. And part of the drama is that as they move into more and more isolated spaces, every couple that they meet seems potentially to be the killers. This has potential, the paranoia, the “is it them? or is it them?” because there are a handful of possibilities in the first segment.
But at a certain point it becomes clear that it’s either the couple that they wind up semi-trapped with who are “very tough to kill” or it’s really Jovovich and Zahn. And then of course, it has to be Jovovich and Zahn because the drama becomes very limited when there is only one couple and you need a major plot twist to work this out. And that is the movie’s huge flaw. Because not only is Zahn not remotely scary or believable, the whole thing seems predicated on lies. It just doesn’t make sense. When a plot point like this works, it’s great. When it fails, it fails big time.
And to worsen things, the film, once it reveals that Jovovich and Zahn are the killers, it goes through an elongated “flashback” in black-and-white basically laying out the whole story for you: “See? This is how that worked? See? This is what Zahn was doing.” And if there is nothing worse than a failed plot point, maybe having your face rubbed in the details for 10 minutes can take you there.
Twohy came on the scene with The Arrival (1996), a surprisingly decent Charlie Sheen sci fi flick (I know, it’s hard for me to believe I just wrote those words too, and then Pitch Black (2000), a quite good sci fi flick which he followed up with the rather rancid The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), a sequel to Pitch Black, which had been kind of a hit. He also did the kind of interesting haunted submarine movie, Below (2002). He’s also got a number of screenplays to his credit as well.
But this one pretty much sucks.