A preposterous film featuring laughable acting, edited via blender.
When former race-car driver Brent Magna’s (Ethan Hawke) wife is kidnapped, he suddenly finds himself receiving directions from a mysterious stranger (Jon Voight) via cell phone. He’s instructed to steal a nearby Shelby Cobra, and drive as he’s told, or his wife will be killed. The car is wired with cameras and microphones so that the stranger can see everything he does. It’s also been armored, in order to withstand the damage its sure to take. Magna takes the car and speeds off…
His instructions initially consist of causing chaos and distracting the police. He has to drive through a crowded market, a festival, and a skating rink, and evade a growing number of pursuing cops. It’s not long, however, before a gun-toting young woman (Selena Gomez) gets into the car, and the kidnapper’s motives begin to reveal themselves.
Will Magna be able to outdrive the demented demands of the stranger and win his wife’s freedom?
“Getaway” is certain to find its way to be mentioned amongst the worst films of 2013. Above and beyond the preposterous premise (and this is NOT a remake of either version of “The Getaway”), you have a horrible miscasting in what is essentially a three player film. Selena Gomez plays a character who is part car expert, and part computer hacker. As an added bonus, her father is a high-ranking official at the corporation that’s the end game of the stranger’s motivations, so she also has key information at key moments that she and Hawke’s character would otherwise never have. Forget the fact that Gomez is terrible here (she’s inexpressive to say the least), she basically looks like she’s 14 or 15. Just seeing her with a gun is laughable, let alone accepting the tough girl character they give her to play. It’s the kind of poor fit that I don’t even fully blame on the actress, this was a decision that was made in order to get a “big” name into a cheap movie, regardless of how well she actually fit the role. In my first ever call out of a Casting Director, I say to Mariana Stanisheva, “Cmonnnnn… really?”
Even without Gomez bricking easy lines like “Look out!” and “No, Stop!”, though, “Getaway” would be a mess, thanks to the choppy mush that director Courtney Solomon gives us to look at. For a movie that’s literally 95% car chase, there isn’t a single decent car chase moment. Just as a quick-cut fight scene protects stars that aren’t actually martial artists, the quick cutting of “Getaway”‘s car chases implies things that happen without them actually happening. For example, say Hawke needs to maneuver the Cobra through three bystander cars driving up ahead. The first shot would be the car swerving to the right, implying it’s about to begin the weaving through traffic. Then we would get a shot of Hawke shifting gears, a close up of Hawke’s face, a close up of Gomez’s face, a shot of the cops, driving behind, then the Cobra out ahead of the three cars. You never actually SEE the car drive through the other three cars. The entire movie is like that. You get, at best, .00025 milliseconds of actual driving, followed by cuts and close-ups that could have been done in studio (and probably were). Which is a damn shame, because when I first saw the car I thought at least I’d have the pleasure of seeing it rip around a bit.
Instead, we get a shredded up dose of cinematic sleight of hand that is utterly ineffectual on an action level. There are a couple of big explosions, and I think they wreck a half dozen cop cars, I’ll give them that. The rest of the film is a meaningless, silly, hollow feeling hour and a half, highlighted by the laughable choice of Selena Gomez as Hawke’s co-pilot. Worthless.