Courtney Solomon‘s Getaway is the latest attempt at an “action” film from a director that has no idea how to justify cuts or take a step back in the editing bay. Getaway is an attempt at a fast-paced race against the clock-styled thriller, but the result is a very stretched hour and a half’s worth of quick and shaky cuts, followed by repetitive driving sequences and two performances that rely on autopilot. Speed right by this year’s Labor Day sleeper. You’ll thank me later.
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) used to race cars. He was once a well-liked driver, but he had a talent for messing things up and causing quite a bit of fuss out on the racetrack, so he’s now living the straight and narrow, thanks to his wife that he loves very much.
One day he comes home and finds out that she’s been snatched up by a mysterious villain (played by Jon Voight) with a secret agenda and now Brent must do exactly as he’s told in order to see his wife alive again. This villain has a specific set of instructions for Brent to follow and most of them require him to be behind the wheel of an extremely fast Shelby Mustang sports car.
Also thrown into the mix is a young and innocent kid (Selena Gomez) who just so happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time… or maybe not?
Getaway is exactly the type of throwaway action/thriller that studios toss out on Labor Day weekend in hopes of making any sort of money at all. Seriously, director Courtney Solomon‘s latest is about as bad as they get, sometimes even worse.
This is due to Solomon’s use of handheld cameras and super-quick cuts to make the film feel as disconnected as possible, both from a presentation level and a progressing story level. Nothing about Getaway makes a lick of sense and Solomon hopes that you as an audience member accepts that and learns not to question a damn thing, because if you do then things will quickly start to fade.
Getaway tries to speed by with blurry fast repetitiveness that mostly involves Hawke’s character driving in random circles, while occasionally crashing into a cop car. Sometimes he gets away from the cop car, but most of the time he doesn’t and this leads to numerous sequences that play out in the exact same fashion.
Never before have I seen such pointless carnage look so ugly and unappealing. There’s nothing about Getaway that looks clean and cool. Instead, most of the film is fuzzy and oftentimes incomprehensible. Where is Hawke’s character actually driving to and why should we care? What does Selena Gomez have to say aside from pointless bitching and moaning? The heck if I know and the heck if anyone else will ever find out.
The film consists of two main performances. One of them coasts by on autopilot by the unlucky genre man Ethan Hawke. Here, Hawke is clearly bored and just as confused as the viewer and what he gives back in return is a performance that does nothing with his talents. Sure, he looks cool behind the wheel of a bad ass car and he also knows how to sport the leather jacket, but not once does he come across as an actual important part of the film.
Selena Gomez doesn’t hold up much better. Her role can be reduced down to nothing but that character that most films feel the need to throw in to counteract the main focus. Her character complains and complains and on occasion provides Hawke’s character with useful information.
Getaway has a short and digestible running time of 90 minutes, but the actual film feels much longer. The plot is as thinned out as possible without actors being required to simply improvise on the spot and even then the film feels long and stretched out way beyond comfort. Courtney Solomon seems more interested in blowing up cars and breaking cameras than actually telling a story that involves those two passing time hobbies. Is there a point to Getaway? I’m not so sure.
Still, there’s a semi-long and quiet shot at the end that shows off how Solomon should have shot this film and it’s always good seeing Hawke get mainstream genre work, even if it sucks. Parts of me admire Solomon for his spotty camera work, but most of me wants to sign him up for a how-to-work-your-camera class, because that actually requires skill beyond what he possess.
Getaway won’t beat your skull to the point of death, but it will come awfully close. Approach with extreme caution and make sure to use your hazard signals when you bolt out of the theater after the first fifteen minutes.
Getaway – 6/10