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Stay Away – A review of Getaway
Production Company: DarkCastle Entertainment
Run Time: 90 minutes
Director: Courtney Solomon
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight
Summary: This could have been a compelling mystery and an enervating film experience, but Hawke is too laid back to carry a movie that spends 90 percent in a claustrophobic environment.
If you’re going to make a movie that takes place almost entirely behind the wheel of a car, it would make sense to cast an actor who is dynamic enough to not only pull off the dialogue and bring across the peril of the situation, but it would also be nice if you didn’t insult the audience along the way, too.
Getaway could have been a compelling mystery about a race car driver who won’t get behind the wheel of a fast car after an incident several years earlier. Yet, he’s obviously so good a driver that a nefarious criminal mind employs him for his own evil schemes since he remembers how well this guy used to drive.
And therein lies the problem. None of the motivations of any of these characters is ever adequately explained during the course of the movie.
When Jon Voight first tests Brent Magna’s (Ethan Hawke) driving abilities, he inexplicably places hundreds of lives in danger as he coerces the driver to careen through heavily populated sections of a city in Bulgaria. We won’t find out why until later in the movie, but even the prime motivation doesn’t seem sufficient to me to compel anyone to follow these ludicrous instructions.
The motivation is the impending murder of Magna’s wife who has been kidnapped by our pseudo-hidden baddie.
So, enter another wrinkle into the fray in the person of singer/actress Selena Gomez who is the owner of the Cobra that Magna steels to execute his “assignments”. Her father, evidently, heads up a powerful bank and bought her the car as her personal plaything which she promptly soups up.
All of this just seemingly manifests itself for the purpose of plot development. I would have preferred they spend more time on character development since all of these people seem rather one dimensional.
The car driving sequences would have been better if you could coherently follow the action, but alas, even that translates into murky sequences on the big screen. It should be no surprise that they waited until the end of the summer to release this movie on the unsuspecting movie-going public.
Hawke is normally a solid actor, but I question his ability to carry a movie like this one. He’s a great supporting actor (Training Day immediately comes to mind), but this is a movie that requires him to be on screen throughout virtually the entire story and he’s just not dynamic enough to carry it.
Gomez, on the other hand, is little more than eye candy here. A better actress might have believably promoted a palpable fear of the circumstances, but she doesn’t quite pull that off.
Likewise, Voight, who is a solid performer, doesn’t quite evoke the menace needed to convincingly ensure that Magna’s wife is truly in peril. The visuals, showing her in the company of thugs, otherwise, would not have been necessary. To boot, the film could have been made more compelling if the peril had been heightened to “R” rated extremes instead of the cartoonish hijinx evoked here for PG-13 audiences, obviously to attract Gomez fans to the theaters.
If you’re going to see this film, I recommend staying home and waiting for the DVD release. I give Getaway 2-1/2 out of 5 stars.