2013 was a pretty good year for Ethan Hawke with Before Midnight earning him critical accolades and The Purge proving to be a surprise box office hit (relative to its low budget origins). The last and, in terms of critical and box office reception, least of the three theatrical films he top-lined in 2013 was Getaway, produced under the Warner Bros. and Joel Silver affiliated "Dark Castle" shingle. This high-concept car crash genre film came and went from theater screens in September quicker than a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and debuted on home video two months later.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Run Time: 1 Hr. 30 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletStandard Sized "VIVA Elite" case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 11/26/2013
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
The Production Rating: 1.5/5
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, John Voight, Rebecca Budig
In Getaway, Ethan Hawke plays (get this) Brent Magna, a former race car driver whose wife (Budig) has been kidnapped. The man responsible (Voight - heard but hardly seen) contacts him by phone, directs him to steal a specific Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (equipped with dozens of cameras and armor plating) and follow his instructions if he ever wants to see his wife alive again. These instructions involve a lot of destructive driving through the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria which leads to a lot of police chases and pedestrian mayhem. During a rare stop, Brent is confronted by the young woman who is the original owner of the GT500 (Gomez) who is forced to ride shotgun on subsequent mayhem. Brent and the girl must work together to try to figure out the kidnapper's end game and find Brent's wife.
If the plot description above sounds like the premise for a compelling feature length film, then I apologize for mis-representing it. The film has a plot that one would question the wisdom of green-lighting for a second tier cable network, let alone a theatrical release from a major studio.
Starting from this thin premise, Director Solomon does little to elevate the material in its transition to (virtual) film. He indulges his actors and then leaves the embarrassing results in the finished cut of the film. I have seen Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight give excellent performances in movies before, but I certainly did not see them do so this evening. This film was shot a couple of months after Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, and while viewers watching that film could honestly leave with the impression that Selena Gomez could make a living as a movie actress, viewers watching Getaway would have reason to doubt whether she has ever acted previously at all.
That being said, the entire cast is merely there to support the real star of the film, a customized Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. While the car is shot lovingly from almost every angle, the actual on-road action is frustratingly repetitive and dull. CGI-free Blues Brothers levels of actual vehicle destruction reportedly occurred during the making of the film, but everything is edited so frenetically and shot so tightly that viewers are hard pressed to appreciate the mayhem skillfully staged by the vehicle stunt team.
The technical MVPs of this film are the sound effects editor who create a sense of continuity mixing the GT500's exhaust note, squealing tires, and metal crunching collisions into a seamless whole that fills the surround sound filed and carries the hyper-cutting multi-camera editorial style on its back.
The film is presented on disc in an AVC-encoded 1080p presentation letterboxed to the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1. While the high definition encoding is top-notch, the actual quality of the image is a function of the cameras being used for any given shot in the film. The film was shot with multiple dozens of cameras of varying capabilities. This is thematically consistent with the surveillance aspect of the film's plot as well as aesthetically convenient as it allows shots from cameras mounted on the vehicle, on chase cars, and even in the middle of the streets on which cars are being driven and smashed.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS HD-MA 5.1 surround track is the disc's (and the film's) strongest suit, as the very aggressive mix is rendered with excellent fidelity that plays well in a home near-field listening environment. If it weren't for the tin-eared dialog (also encoded and delivered with outstanding clarity), it would be the perfect audio track. Kidding aside, there is barely ten minutes that pass in the film without including a sequence that could be used for impressive surround sound demo material.
Audio Rating: 5/5
When the disc is first played, the viewer is greeted with the following promos presented in 1080p HD video with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound:
Special Features Rating: 1/5
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy promo (1:22)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Theatrical Trailer (2:11)
Crash Course (1:12) Looks at the "mega coverage" method used to shoot the film with multiple dozens of cameras including Red HD Cameras, GoPro car mounted cameras, cameras in the middle of the streets, etc. Comments are provided by Director Courtney Solomon and Director of Photography Yaron Levy.
Destroying a Custom Shelby (1:06) discusses the car at the film's center with on-screen comments from Ethan Hawke ("Brent Magna"), Solomon, Co-Writer Sean Finegan, and Selena Gomez ("Kid")
Metal and Asphalt (1:09) Discusses th CGI-free car stunts and crashes. Comments come from Hawke, Solomon, Levy, and Brent Stunt Double Driver Steve Picerni.
Selena Gomez on Set (1:19) focuses on the young actress with comments from Gomez, and universal praise from Hawke, Solomon, Executive Producer Joel Silver, and Levy
The Train Station (1:03) looks at one particularly explosive stunt sequence from the film with comments from Solomon, Hawke, and Levy
Ultraviolet Digital Copy
An insert in the packaging includes a code to unlock an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the movie. Using the code to redeem the digital copy allows viewers to access high definition streaming versions of the movie on portable devices, smart TVs, and set-top boxes connected to streaming services such as Flixster, Vudu, and CinemaNow.
If you like the sound of a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 so much that you could listen to it for an hour and a half straight, then Getaway will allow you to safely do so indoors. If you have loftier cinematic needs, then you had best avoid it. The film is presented on Blu-ray disc with a 1080p video presentation that renders the multi-digital format cinematography and seizure inducing editing with great accuracy. The lossless 5.1 surround audio track is the most impressive aspect of the film, with its only weakness being the terrible scripted dialog to which viewers are occasionally forced to listen. Special Features consist of a bunch of ultra-brief snippets of promotional interviews with very little depth.
Overall Rating: 1.5/5
Reviewed By: Ken_McAlinden
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