Deadly Doll's Choice: A Perfect Getaway (2010)

When Emily picked A Perfect Getaway for this month’s film swap, it made me pose a couple of questions. First, what kind of summertime fun would I get her involved in? Well, that was easy because I had just watched one of The Harder They Come’s lesser cousins, the stream of dub-consciousness 1978 film Rockers, and so I sent her on a trip down Jamaica way. So head over to The Deadly Doll’s House and see if Emily is got her Dread on or if it was just a film filled with dread. The second question was this. Would my perfect getaway include Timothy Olyphant or Milla Jovovich? That’s a question that I had to mull over for a while so more on that in a bit. For now, let me turn my attention to the film at hand today, A Perfect Getaway. Contrary to the trailer which makes the film look like an action packed thrill ride, director David Twohy produced a tense thriller that almost works, but this getaway is far from perfect.

The plot to the film is pretty easily spoiled, and I’m even going to do a bit of that later (don’t worry there will be fair warning). As the film begins we are introduced to newlyweds Cliff and Sydney (Steve Zahn and Jovovich), self proclaimed “American Jedi” Nick and his girlfriend Gina (Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez), and scroungy beach bums Kale and Cleo (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and Planet Terror’s Marley Shelton). There’s a pair of killers on the loose in a Hawaiian Islands, and during a hike to a secluded beach the couples begin to suspect each other. I really think that’s about all on the plot that need be explained. Anything else would be just an examination of the red herrings (or snappers as the case may be) that run wild throughout the movie, but the problem is they’re not worth examining.

You may be wondering why. After all, longtime fans of The Lair know that while my love for horror runs deep, thrillers and suspense films run a close second. A Perfect Getaway even set out to be a great example of a thriller, but then it hit’s the thirty two minute mark. There, with only a pair of raised eyebrows, the entire mystery of the film was completely spoiled, and yet the next forty minutes of the film continue to play with misdirection for no reason that I could ascertain. For a moment I want to talk spoilers so I’ve made the text in the next paragraph much darker. Highlight it if you dare!

Here’s the thing. It wasn’t the script that made it obvious, and I have a hard time believing the two actors (Zahn and Jovovich) would have so cavalierly tipped the twist. That is unless the director thought that it would be subtle. In my case, it was anything but. I had no problem with the misdirection or have them act in opposition to their character’s true nature, but at last save it for the sixty minute mark. Giving it up that our newlyweds were anything but so early just left me angry and markedly less interested in the remainder of the film.

Ok now we’re back from that, and I think we can all agree that Nic cage is always money in my book. However, I should really talk about the actors in A Perfect Getaway. Tim Olyphant I have but one question for you sir. Why are so good in everything (except Hitman)? From Deadwood and Justified to Go and The Crazies, I’m an Olyphant fan. A Perfect Getaway is no exception for if anyone got away with anything it was Olyphant with the whole film. Milla Jovovich looks typically lovely and turns in a performance that is assuredly equal to Olyphant. The same can’t be said of Steve Zahn. While I love him on season 2 of the New Orleans based show Treme, for my money, he just wasn’t quite the fir for the part. Kiele Sanchez definitely shone when it came to the action sequences, and she provides a good companion for Olyphant. However, being a Southerner, I just wanted to reach through the TV and slap that terrible accent out of her mouth.

A Perfect Getaway almost made off with the goods, but instead it just seemed to give me the business. While it tries to follow the Hitchcockian rules of a suspense film, revealing information to the audience that the characters don’t have, it deals far too fast and loose for its own good. What could have been a movie that got a strong four from me will only end up with a lousy two, and that is on the strength of the performances alone. Now back to my question, my perfect getaway. Would it be with Milla or Tim? After some careful thought I realized there was only one way to answer a question like that. I would have to take them both…. And my wife. After all, how else am I going to get away with sitting on a beach sipping Mai Tais with Leeloo?

Bugg Rating

That’s all for today folks. Make sure you head on over to the Deadly Dolls to see what she thought of Rockers, mon. It’s sure to be a high old time, and I’ll be back soon with more Summer fun!


  1. I was a bit annoyed the first time I saw this one, too. But I have to be honest in saying that I caught it a second time and really enjoyed it, in fact I purchased it.
    I'm a long-time Olyphant fan and you're correct in saying he's great in pretty much everything - and totally carries this film (thank God or it might be a total loss). I think the reveal is what bugged me the most, but after seeing it again it played out better for me.
    I guess they had to let the twist out early so they could barrel through all the action sequences and have them make sense, I don't know.
    In any event, it's a fun little thriller - at least to me :)

  2. On a second viewing it might not bother me as much either as I would know that's just how it was going to be. What really set me off was that the movie was just getting good when they pulled the rug out from under me.

  3. I thought this movie was very good. I suspected the two, but didn't think it was blown--on second viewing, I think it's pretty clever how many clues Twohy threw in. I'm not sure what happens at the 32 minute mark that pissed you off, but I didn't catch it. (or I thought it might be misdirection at that point)

  4. I loved your "invisible ink" spoiler section.

    I look forward to further innovations in your bloggage. You Sir, are the William Castle of the blogosphere. I enjoyed the movie, but find "cra-azy people" thrillers a tad goofy. This I found exceptionally goofy. I'd say more but feel my feet are right up against the bottomless abyss of spoilerdom, so that's all I'm gonna say. I will make it a point to argue about this film with Emily later.

    (Come to think of it, I make it a point to argue about a lot of things with Emily later).

  5. Bring it ON Randy. I'm always revved and ready when it comes to arguing with you.

    Now Zach: slightly bummed it didn't work as well for you. Perhaps part of why I fell so deeply for A Perfect Getaway was because I just had below zero expectations for it. It was misadvertised as a vacationy slasher, but I love that it's essentially a mystery set in a gorgeous location and filled with genuinely watchable people. That's how I sees it.

  6. I dug this film too. It's not perfect at all, but I was along for the ride the entire time and don't feel like I ever wasted my time. One of Jovovich's best performances and Olyphant is just amazing in anything [although he was miscast in HITMAN]. It's definitely better on a second viewing, when you know the twist and see how it plays out within the narrative. I think this film is pretty underrated. Great post as usual!

  7. jervaise brooke hamsterJuly 27, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Its 6 weeks since your last reveiw, i hope you`re doin` OK my old mate.


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