Getaway Nov 27, 2013 0:25:14 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 27, 2013 0:25:14 GMT -5
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Ethan Hawke in Getaway.
The title of Courtney Solomon's latest film would work more efficiently if it was intended as a warning to potential viewers. Getaway is stockpiled madness on film: a cacophony of collisions, gears shifting, screaming, tires screeching, stock suspense riffs in the music, and vehicles hurdling around corners and down long highways, sometimes congested, sometimes vast and open, but mostly obscured through abysmal filming.
That's right, Getaway is another stumblebum actioneer that clobbers its audience with ferociously indistinguishable editing (particularly during the car chase sequences that take up roughly seventy of the film's eighty-two minute runtime) and a camera that always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's no surprise that there is an audience that never tires from car chase sequences, but I have my doubts they'll be ready to endure something like Getaway. A film where roughly eighty-five percent of the film is an extended car chase seems like an idea for an interesting film. If it was choreographed well and filmed with a sense of placement and awareness, hell, I may even recommend it.
But Getaway is not that film, reader. It's a sensory annihilation. The same sensors of mine that were stimulated several times this year were brutally whacked like a weed-whacker shredding dandelions. The film concerns a washed-up racer named Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), who returns home one day to find his house burglarized and his wife missing. He receives a call on his phone from a man who we'll come to know only as "The Voice" (Jon Voight) for the entire film. "The Voice" informs Brent that his wife has been kidnapped by him and that he must follow his meticulous instructions if he wants to see her alive ever again. He orders Brent to obtain a slick, heavily-customized Shelby Mustang from a parking garage and if he refuses to follow his instructions or is apprehended by law enforcement, his wife will be killed.
Upon obtaining the car, he discovers numerous video cameras and microphones attached to its interior to monitor his every move. A little later on he is almost carjacked by a young teen girl we come to know only as "The Kid" (Selena Gomez, who can no longer call Spring Breakers her weirdest role). Conflicted by "The Voice" spouting directions to him on the Mustang's personal car phone (such as drive through crowded parks and outrun an onslaught of policemen), and in a serious press for time, he takes her along for this wild ride and the two are now stuck in this bad situation. And this bad situation is housed in a bad film to make matters worse.
Just a year ago, around this time actually, I made comments about the poor editing in Taken 2 and said it could be a plausible candidate for one of the worst edited films of the new-decade. Getaway takes that cake, eats it, and prepares it again to enjoy a second serving. Film editing is said to be a thankless field because if the editor does his job correctly you'll never notice it and I can agree with that. However, bad film editing allows for flaws, inconsistencies, and chaos to ensue and Getaway is sloppily edited to the point of being almost unwatchable. I can only paraphrase film critic Matt Zoller-Seitz comments on the film and say that Getaway makes a case for charging studios a fee for shots in action films that last under three seconds. If a four-figure tax were to be instated, Getaway would like have a fee over its budget of $18 million.
But Ryan Dufrene's shockingly messy editing can't disguise for Solomon's poor directing. No matter where Solomon's camera seems to be during the action sequences, his footage never seems to work to the film's advantage. Shots give off no sense of placement, the chase sequences involving police cruisers always seem to follow the formula of the cops gaining with Magna shifting and accelerating, and conclude with him either pushing a cop car against a wall or into oncoming traffic to collide with other drivers. As exciting as that sounds, imagine how exciting it is when we see it from confusing angles that do not allow for any depth of field or placement, shots that feel like they're budding against a wall, other camera positions that feel they were just latched on to an obscure device in an awkward spot on the vehicle, and shots that just feel like showing whatever they feel like. This is one of the most awkward, ineptly-shot films of the year.
The dialog in this film is resorted to screams, frantic outbursts, and obscenities that fit nicely in the boundaries of a PG-13 rating. So, in a basic sense, Getaway's screenplay has the stimulating effect of action video game dialog, with video game like scenarios. When multiple police cruisers are dispatched to try and take out Magna's car, as he speeds up and makes an attempt to outrun them, I was waiting for the camera to pan to the rear end of the car (in third-person fashion), exit cinematic mode, show a wanted level, four stars, a money counter, and a health bar (along with a small, circular map at the bottom left hand corner) and reveal I was watching a poorly-made cut scene from a Grand Theft Auto game.
On a final note of pure asininity, Getaway takes place during the Christmas season and its soundtrack is either composed of typical potboiling, action-movie instrumentals that may as well be public domain by now or Christmas songs. Nothing says riveting and briskly-paced like Silent Night chiming in at an appropriate time. However, one thing about Getaway amused me very much in particular and that was its choice to utilize "Jingle Bell Rock" as its credits song, although it's not the typical version of "Jingle Bell Rock" that you're used to hearing, although its sound could easily be mistaken for it. The song is done by Steve McGowan, who easily seems to be the most dedicated soul involved with the film.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, and Jon Voight. Directed by: Courtney Solomon.