Film review: Getaway

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Hollywood heavyweights Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez never quite gain enough speed in the plotless action flick Getaway. Image: Warner Bros. Hollywood heavyweights Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez never quite gain enough speed in the plotless action flick Getaway. Image: Warner Bros.

No escape: The car chase thriller Getaway has no traction

“Tremendously shitty.” That’s the best phrase to describe the new Ethan Hawke-Selena Gomez (!) driving thriller Getaway, a movie in which characters can break the Internet in fewer than five seconds and a car can be armored to prevent total destruction, but the guy who armored it forgets long enough to send someone to shoot it up who didn’t bring armor piercing bullets.

These are not criticisms. These are mere observations. And in a way, the tremendously shitty Getaway demands that we not piss and moan about it, or grouse that an Academy Award nominee (Hawke) is in this noxious, bottom-feeding sludge. Nah, our job, viewers and film lovers, is to make the best of a bad piece of filmmaking (which looks like it was shot on standard definition video). After all, how many movies are so ill-conceived, poorly written, and indifferently directed that they’re just plain fun? Not many, I’d wager.

Here’s my suggestion. First, pick up your friends and head to the nearest multiplex. Buy one ticket to Getaway. Then let your friends in through the exit so that only one of you has to take a hit to the pocketbook. Make sure you all bring your favorite alcohol, and also make sure you have the same volume and proof. You’re about to get shit-faced.

Here are the rules: 1. Drink whenever there’s a close-up of Ethan Hawke shifting gears (bonus if you can guess how many times you’d stall the car if you tried these maneuvers in real life). 2. Drink whenever you see Jon Voight’s teeth, lips or facial hair (do a double shot if you think seeing only these parts of his face is worse than seeing his entire head). 3. Drink whenever Gomez tells Ethan Hawke to “stop, please stop!”

You can also add your own variations. For example, every time you realize the police in Sofia, Bulgaria, are the worst police anywhere, do a keg stand (this option will take advance planning). Or drink when you realize the movie takes place in Bulgaria because it’s too expensive to shoot elsewhere.

You may notice I’ve mentioned nothing of the plot. That’s because there is no plot. I have no way of knowing whether the following is true, but it feels like this is how Getaway was written: Someone took 14 different chase-filled screenplays, indiscriminately tore random pages from them, threw the pages in the air, then picked them up and reassembled them in whichever order they landed. Then they threw that out each morning and wrote the scenes 30 minutes prior to shooting.

But just so my editor knows I actually saw the movie—Ethan Hawke is a race car driver. He’s retired because he sucks (lolz). His wife is kidnapped. The kidnapper demands he steal a car and drive it around. Selena Gomez gets involved (I refer to her as “Selena Gomez” because her character, literally, does not have a name). There are many, many, many car chases, most of which are monotonous.

A critic I know said Getaway was the longest 90 minutes of his life. He should have brought bourbon and three friends to the screening.

Getaway/PG-13, 90 minutes/Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

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