“Getaway” is one of those action films that probably sounded better on paper.
It’s a one-trick pony that loses steam fast, with director Courtney Solomon using every cliché possible to pad the 90-minute running time.
Ethan Hawke stars as Brent, a former race car driver forced to do a series of “jobs” for a mysterious entrepreneur (Jon Voight) after his wife is kidnapped.
Brent gets some unexpected help from a young girl (Selena Gomez) who happens to be the owner of the car he has stolen to accomplish the tasks set in front of him.
This is the kind of film where Gomez’s character is listed as “The Kid” in the credits. But that isn’t the most ridiculous thing about “Getaway.”
The dialogue is horrifically bad. It feels like it was written by a grade school kid.
The chase scenes quickly get monotonous as Brent eludes at least a million cops (this has to be the largest police staff in cinematic history with hundreds of police cars destroyed) and gets vague missions that sound more like something out of a video game than plausible real-world assignments.
I know this is a film where you have to suspend disbelief, but it’s hard to take that leap of faith when everyone involved seems to not care as well.
Hawke looks bored. Gomez isn’t as good here as she was in “Spring Breakers,” but at least she’s trying to expand beyond her Disney roots. Voight literally phones it in, with an accent that may actually be worse than the one he used in “Anaconda.”
This is an awful film, one that will likely leave at a greater speed than any of the movie’s numerous chase sequences.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is the Sarah Polley documentary “Stories We Tell” (A) – one of the most personal films I’ve ever experienced.
This utterly fascinating film starts in one direction, only to surprise you as layers are peeled back.
The background for the film is simple. Polley learned a few years ago that she was the product of an extramarital affair.
Since Polley’s mother died when Polley was 11, she had to go through other means to learn who her father was – and eventually had to share this revelation with the man who she thought was her father.
What makes “Stories We Tell” so fascinating is that Polley explores this journey from all angles – interviewing family members, friends of her late mother and people who might shed more light on her affair.
Interviews with the man she thought was her father pack an emotional punch that become even more emotional as the film progresses.
The result is a movie that becomes much more than Polley discovering her real father. It is a film that explores the very fabric of family and how perception isn’t always reality. Some stories contradict one another, showing how one moment can be seen with multiple perspectives.
Perhaps what makes “Stories We Tell” so effective is the way Polley weaves her film, with the final act featuring several unexpected twists (including a final revelation during the credits that clouds the whole story even more) that leave the audience questioning their own perspectives of the story.
This is a film that is both beautiful and sad, melancholy and uplifting, straightforward and mysterious.
It’s a profound piece of work from Polley that is the best film of 2013 to date.
“Stories We Tell” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking and is now available on DVD.