Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Perfect Getaway


This is one of those films which the trailer tells too much, so much so that I was quite certain who the mystery killer couple was amongst the three featured, and proven right. I think I'll steer clear of trailers for a while, since the better ones will keep your interest piqued, but the poorly made ones tend to spell everything out.

A Perfect Getaway proved to be quite a well made whodunnit thriller, where we follow a couple, Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) on their honeymoon to Hawaii, only to learn that there's a serial killer couple on the loose where they are. Bumping into other couples Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez), and the creepy hippies Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton) only provides that extra element of guesswork as to just who amongst them could coincidentally be those on the police wanted list, and sadly the way the trailer was constructed, laid it all out transparently.

So I'll just talk about the couples instead. Written and directed by David Twohy, Zahn and Jovovich behave like your common newlyweds who are up for just about any adventure, and despite bumping into nasties, almost always try to make the best out of their situation. Having Zahn's Cliff as a scriptwriter also allowed the film to have its fair share of movie references, which would appeal to any film fan especially when Timothy Olyphant's Nick starts chatting up and contributing story ideas, the most telling and ironic being the discussion on red herrings.

But it is the characters of Nick and Gina that are the most fleshed out and the most interesting of the lot, the former being an ex-clandestine operative whose cool looks could just kill, and Twohy's story has enough moments to showcase just how deadly this Man can be, especially when there are continuous praises by girlfriend Gina on just how indestructible he actually is. Gina herself is no pushover, being a butcher skilled at carving meat out for dinners.

And when so much focus is placed on these two couples, unfortunately Kale and Cleo got somewhat relegated to support roles only. Much as I would hope they had enough screen time to balance things up and to become ample suspects as well, somehow Twohy probably ran out of steam to fill these two characters up with as much back story as the others.

It's these relationship dynamics, of secrets and details shared between themselves, and between couples, that set things up for the big reveal, and thereafter some excellently crafted action sequence set on primal survival instincts, with enough gory moments that don't go over the top or done for the sake of. Watching with perfect hindsight, the secrets here were beautifully masked, with suggestions made at ample time so that the keen eyed viewer would at once know that there's more to things than meets the eye. Frankly if one was as situationally aware as the Nick character, you'll see through the charades soon enough.


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