Reel Review | Getaway

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I’ve seen some bad films over the past year, but — wow — “Getaway” earns the distinction of stinker of the year, hands down. If you’re seen the trailer, you pretty much know the whole film: Ethan Hawke’s wife has been kidnapped and he is forced to do a series of jobs in a souped-up Shelby Mustang (it’s actually more like a tank, but to get into the absurdity of that would be to waste valuable seconds of your life). Throw in a completely pointless subplot involving Selena Gomez  — a computer genius who manages to do anything she wants within ten seconds of being on an iPad — and you essentially have the entire plot of the film. On paper, this could have been a great Grindhouse-style picture in the vein of Vanishing Point, offering a fun, in-your-face thrill ride with barely a basic plot outline. Instead, “Getaway” is a pointless bore of a movie filled with undeveloped characters, moan-inducing dialog, and car chases so poorly edited that it’s best to watch them with your eyes closed. It should be shown in film school as a demonstration on what NOT to do in a film.

Since there is zero character development, you really don’t understand or care about Ethan Hawke’s unwavering commitment to saving his wife (during the process of which he injures half of Bulgaria’s police force). In turn, this disconnection relieves his countless car chases with the police of any tension, because the viewer has zero emotional connection to the action.

With any film featuring a wafer thin plot, one assumes the acting will be bad since there really isn’t anything for the actors to dig into, but it would be wrong to even give them an excuse for their performances in this film. Ethan Hawke basically scowls the entire time, and Selena Gomez’s performance is an embarrassment to all working child actors. She reads her lines as if she just saw the script literally moments before. My 3-month old son has put up better acting performances than what the two of them did in this film. Rating: 5 / 25


If you thought my rant about the storyline was bad, things are even worse with regards to the visuals. Since plot apparently wasn’t a major part of the film’s pre-production phase, one might assume that time and effort was spent setting up the endless parade of car chases and crashes. And while it may have, we’ll never know because the film is so over-edited that it’s practically impossible to piece it back together. Each edit happens so fast there is zero sense of speed and momentum and all sense of geography is lost. In one chase sequence, I counted in-between edits and I never got past the number two. Whatever you do, do not take your child to this film because they will be suffering from ADHD before it’s over! On top of that, director Courtney Solomon changes up the quality of the visuals by switching back and forth from shots with the Sony Red One camera to video from security or the small cameras attached to the car itself. It’s like watching pieces of a car chase via the found footage genre and just adds to the incoherent mess. What makes matters worse, everything that the film could have been was on display at the end. During the last chase scene there is an uninterrupted minute long shot from the bumper of the Shelby that is so intense you’ll be gripping the hand-rests of your seat while holding your breath the entire time. It’s exhilarating! But once it’s over, the obvious question is, “Why in the world wasn’t the rest of the film shot in the same manner?”. It’s almost as if the film makers decided to reward the audience for sitting through 90 minutes of garbage by giving them a taste of what they hoped the film would have been in the first place.   Rating: 6 / 25


If there is one saving grace for the film — albeit for a short period of time — it is the audio mix. When the Shelby is first introduced you can practically feel its power through the low end rumble of the speakers. Each turn and tire screech envelops the theater, putting the audience in the parking garage with the car itself. Sadly, by the time the second chase comes around, it becomes a rinse and repeat method, as each sound feels as if it’s a clone from the chase before. And to be totally honest, it all becomes white noise before the film is half over. The music by composer Justin Caine Burnett has the right intention and is effective enough, but it has a feel of unoriginality to it. We’ve heard the same type of score — heavy synthetic percussive elements mixed with orchestral instrumentation — hundreds of times before in far better movies. Rating: 13 / 25


I love movies and I try to find some good in each film that I view. Making a film requires a ton of hard work and I can only assume that all involved are trying to make the best film possible. As audience members, we should at least give them that respect. That being said, there is very little I found enjoyable. Apart from the thrilling minute long shot at the end of the film, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about this film. “Getaway” is a pointless film with a rudimentary plot filled with unwatchable car chases, horrendous acting, and logic holes so expansive that an 18-wheel  truck could squeeze through…sideways! After the first 15 minutes you’ll be looking around the theater for a wall with a fresh coat of paint, because watching paint dry is more entertaining than this trite excuse for a movie! Rating: 6 / 25


Overall Rating: 30 / 100

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Dave Ziemer has been reviewing movies for over ten years. He is the founder and was the Program Director of SiriusXM Radio's Cinemagic channel.