Reviews: A Perfect Getaway

Ben Vernel reviews tropical thriller A Perfect Getaway.

A Perfect Getaway is a well-written, labyrinthine thriller featuring excellent performances and a lush setting. David Twohy (writer-director of this and Pitch Black among other, uneven credits) crafts an air of tension and ambiguity throughout that is if not impenetrable then at least difficult to unravel.

Cliff and Cydney (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) are newlyweds on their honeymoon in Hawaii. They cross paths with two other couples on their way to a remote beach: Couple 1 are Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez), a rough and ready Southern boyfriend and girlfriend, and Couple 2 are Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton), a pair of unpredictable hippies.  Looming over the interactions of these 6 people is the spectre of murder – a group of girls inform our main characters that a killer is on the loose in Hawaii, and suspense mounts as everyone begins to suspect everyone else.

Twohy takes his cue from Agatha Christie here – few characters, many clues and an emphasis on dialogue and observation. The characters are interesting and the actors themselves do a great job. Steve Zahn is excellent as the indoorsy screenwriter Cliff, Milla Jovovich portrays Cydney as flighty and naive, Kiele Sanchez is solid as Gina, Chris Hemsworth is suitably menacing as Kale and Marley Shelton is fine as Cleo. The standout, however, is Timothy Olyphant. He gives ex-soldier and self-described storyteller Nick a fun, ferocious feel and is both loose and, at times, strongly focused. This is no

thing like his most famous role in HBO’s Deadwood as the tightly wound Seth Bullock, and I’d love to see Olyphant getting more work.

A Perfect Getaway is a bit of an oddity; it’s part post-modern whodunit, part experimental cinematic exercise, part B-Grade thriller and part I-don’t-know-what.

The film is well-paced and while you might have an inkling as to who the killer may be you’re still happy to sit back and watch as the whole bloody mess unfolds before you. Some have complained about plot holes and a lack of sense in the script and dialogue but trust me, it all makes sense and there are no plot holes. This is an incredibly self-aware movie that is deliberate in every way. I plan to watch it for a second time just to appreciate how well this thing was written. Sure, some elements are cliched and predictable but the way in which everything is packaged is pretty damn clever.

– Ben Vernel

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