By Leslie Combemale, Cinema Siren
I wish someone could please explain how a movie goes from a good idea to the worst release of the year. I feel such sadness and pity for the stunt drivers who risked their lives as part of the making of the new release "Getaway," starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez in what I hope is the lowest ebb of their respective careers.
I walked out with a headache, and offered a critic's quote to the marketing team outside the theater: "I hated it so much I'd like to shoot this movie in the face."
You could trust these five words, "DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE" and skip to Cinema Siren's Top 10 car chase movies of all time, or perhaps you'd like to know the basis for such vitriol and hate.
Sigh. Where to begin? The story, such as it is, begins when former race car driver Brent Magna finds blood and his wife missing, then receives a call from a disembodied voice informing him she's been taken. To keep her alive, he must steal a car and do his bidding.
Brent's reptilian brain kicks in, and he proceeds to follow orders blindly to the extent that he plows through public spaces, sending police cars crashing into each other at high speeds. There is no clear body count, but even in the first few minutes, one assumes it would have to be significant.
Enter teen smart-ass "the kid" played by Selena Gomez. The lines she delivers at her kidnapper are parsed evenly between yelling in monotone and abrasively whining. The case for why anyone would care if Brent, his wife and the kid get out of this alive are never concretely made to the audience.
The edited splicing of vaseline shots of Leanne, Brent's wife, smiling beatifically in slo-mo as he indiscriminately kills pedestrians seems to the filmmakers to be all that is required. I thought we all learned a long time ago that following orders without asking questions is a very bad idea.
If audiences hang in there to the end, will they find justification or a fascinating twist to rationalize the nearly incessant video game-like challenges put forth by The Voice? No.
There is an explanation of sorts, but it stands on a single wobbly (and termite-ridden) wooden leg. No big twist or reveal is forthcoming, begging the question of audience members why they hung in there for the 90 minutes of screeching tires, crunching metal and bad choices. Fans of Hawke can be buoyed by the fact that he is also in one of the best movies of the year, "Before Midnight," which is emotionally excruciating but deep and ultimately satisfying.
The whole thing makes comparison to "Fast and Furious," or any reasonably good car chase movie, absurd. Avoid "Getaway" like a cankerous pothole that will destroy your undercarriage. Just get away.
Leslie Combemale, "Cinema Siren," is a movie lover and aficionado in Northern Virginia. Alongside Michael Barry, she owns ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery in Reston Town Center. She has a background in film and art history. She often is invited to present at conventions such as the San Diego Comic Con. In 2013 she will moderate "Legendary Animators of Classic 60s Cartoons" at SDCC. She previously moderated "The Art of the Hollywood Movie Poster" and is a perennial panelist on the Harry Potter Fandom panel. Visit her art gallery online at www.artinsights.com, and see more of her reviews and interviews on www.artinsightsmagazine.com.