Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Perfect Getaway (2009)

A pair of American newlyweds played by Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich — bothersome from the get-go — set off on their dream honeymoon in Hawaii.

I'm going to have trouble here, I thought, because I wanted them to be dead long before any credible threat to their perfect getaway had presented itself.

But nothing is quite what it seems in this unusually smart and witty B-movie thriller. Soon there's enough irony, dark humour and deception around to make this a very enjoyable ride.

Our pair have embarked on the meandering, steep-contoured Kalalau trail leading to a perfect isolated beach, encountering along the way two other couples intent on reaching the same location.

Early on news reaches them that a pair of bodies minus teeth and fingertips has turned up on the neighbouring island, and that another couple was captured in the act of murder on CCTV...

The only glitch with this set-up — and there be spoilers this way — is that I figured out the twist here long before it was revealed.

There's a nice little exchange between screenwriter Cliff and Nick about 'red snappers' and 'red herrings' and frankly, the writers here have deployed a few too many of these rather fishy decoys in their own script not to create a bit of a stink. When you see that the signposts are pointing every which way, you tend to stop and consider the only alternative left which hasn't been suggested.

In spite of my anticipation when the 'prestige' is finally delivered, we both looked at each other as if to say ' did we just get cheated?' It took a few minutes of careful reflection for us to decide that the maneuver we'd been subjected to was legit in narrative terms.

Credit must go not only to the writers, but also the performers for smoothing the way for this clever switch which audience sympathies inevitably have to follow if it is to have been deemed a success. A special mention here for the Timothy Olyphant who is superb at building both the menace and the likeability of his character Nick.

Grade: A-

No comments: