DVD Review HTF DVD REVIEW: A Perfect Getaway Unrated Director's Cut

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Dec 27, 2009.

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  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    A Perfect Getaway
    Unrated Director's Cut
     
    Studio: Universal Studios
    Year: 2009
    US Rating: Unrated / Rated R – For Graphic Violence, Language Including Sexual References And Some Drug Use
    Film Length: 108 Minutes / 98 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 – Enhanced for Widescreen TVs
    Audio: English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French
     
    Release Date: December 29, 2009
    Review Date: December 27, 2009
     
    “It's like everything else in Hawaii, as close as far away gets.!”
     
    The Film: 3.5 out of 5
     
    David Twohy is an interesting figure in Hollywood. A director with a proclivity for otherworldly or supernatural stories, and a quite talented screenwriter with stories such as The Fugitive, G.I Jane, and Waterworld under his belt, he has a B movie appeal with more funding and talent than those films are afforded. He is perhaps best known for his Riddick character which he brought to life in 2000’s Pitch Black (and its vastly underrated sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick), and he reflects his influences (Alien, etc) rather than merely being derivative of them.
     
    A Perfect Getaway, then, is somewhat of a departure for this director. Working from his own story, Getaway is a suspense thriller which follows Cliff and Cydney, a newlywed couple honeymooning on the lush tropical Hawaii islands and backpacking their way through secluded trails toward a famed remote beach. Along the way, they learn of the recent gruesome murders of a newlywed couple on a nearby island and that the killers are on the loose. Their paradise trip soon becomes a game of paranoia and suspense as they encounter fellow backpackers who could very well be the killers on the loose – and their dreamland turns deadly.
     
    Twohy’s story is finely tuned to ratchet up suspicion and tension, but suffers from a few dialogue missteps. However, the tale he weaves is tight and engaging enough to harken back to the pressure and purpose of some of the better crafted thrillers of days gone by. Twohy successfully lures us into his disarmingly lush paradise, maneuvering his characters somewhat carefully into the inevitable untenable position of being ‘dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t”. Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as Cliff and Cydney deliver in their roles. Zahn, an actor who is quickly becoming at ease in just about any genre (from comedy roles such as Saving Silverman and National Security, action comedy in Sahara, horror in Joy Ride, war drama in Rescue Dawn, and so on), finds a quick foothold in his Cliff character; a bespectacled screenwriter, easy to unnerve and apt to be careful and cautious. Cydney, on the other hand, is entirely more outgoing, less risk-adverse, and more playful. The couple they form an uneasy alliance with on their hike, Nick and Gina, are played by Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez – and though rather broadly drawn for much of the film, provide a good source of distrust and question for the film. Olyphant in particular joyfully chews on some of the film’s best dialogue.  
     
    The film hangs upon a mystery – and the tension rides upon keeping that mystery alive cleanly (in other words, not relying upon fabrications alien to the story once the reveal is made) – and on those grounds, it works. It is difficult to discuss all of the successes of the film (and indeed, some of the weaker moments) without revealing too much. Suffice to say, Twohy has crafted an entertaining thriller that delivers a satisfying conclusion (though I was not completely surprised) and takes a few chances in the presentation of his story, especially during the third act. And the energy Twohy brings to his suspenseful creation proves that he can succeed in a totally new genre, and that he has a gift for changing directions and taking a willing audience along with him when his film requires it (if you’ve seen the film, you will know what I am referring to).
     
    This DVD release from universal contains both the theatrical and an unrated director’s cut, which runs an additional 10 minutes compared to the theatrical version.
     
     
     
    The Video: 3.5 out of 5
     
    A Perfect Getaway is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, anamorphic widescreen. The presentation is clean and sharp, particularly during the first act as the lushness and beauty of the paradise location are shown off with brightness, rich colors, and a slightly overexposed look. The image does contain some issues; unnaturally sharp at times and not the most accurate black levels, but these issues do not detract too much from what is generally a good image.  
     
     
    The Sound: 3.5 out of 5
     
    The English Dolby Digital 5.1 (French and English also available) is suitable for the film. Absent of any real standout moments, the film exists mainly with scenes of dialogue, albeit in superb locations shot well by director Twohy. Aside from a rainstorm and some of Boris Elkis’ score, the surrounds aren’t taxed much, but generally speaking the audio works here.
     
     
     
    The Extras: No Stars out of 4
     
    Unless the Unrated Cut can be considered an extra, A Perfect Getaway is devoid of extras. The Blu-Ray version does, however, contain special features.
     
     
    Final Thoughts
    A Perfect Getaway is an imperfect little gem of a suspense thriller; a surprisingly entertaining and engaging movie that provides a satisfying twist that, though some will see coming, is still off-kilter enough to keep guesses from being made with full confidence. Films like these don’t get made nearly as often as I would like, and Twohy, by setting the film in a believably remote location that is both lush and isolating (when needed), gives it all a fresh breath of fresh air.

    Overall Score 3.5 out of 5
    Neil Middlemiss
    Kernersville, NC

     
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I have to say I thought the movie was "Outstanding".

    I really feel that way.
    I'll watch anything Twohy writes and directs.
    The forgotten "Below" and one of my favorite sci-fi movies that hardly anyone heard about "The Arrival" with Charlie Sheen, Terry Polo and Ron Silver.
    Anyway I've been recommending "Getaway" at the rental store were I work.

    tw his next 2 jobs looks interesting.

    1. The Brazilian Job (2011) (announced) (screenplay)
    2. Untitled Chronicles of Riddick Sequel (2012) (pre-production) (screenplay)
     
  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Tony - I completely agree with you on The Arrival - and I felt that Below was much much better than critics and box-office receipts indicated.

    As for his upcoming projects, I am really excited to see where he takes the Riddick character...

     
  4. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I'm a fan of this one as well. It's a predictable film, but it more than makes up for that with solid execution, dialogue and some really fun character moments. I bought the Blu-ray, and while I haven't popped it in yet, it also appears to be quite bare. Too bad. At the very least, a Twohy commentary would have been ideal.
     

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