On paper, Getaway should have been one kickass movie. It had a catchy title. It starred great actors. It featured a fast paced stunt heavy movie. It had a great piece of machinery in the form of a Ford Shelby Snake in the front and center. It even had a neat soundtrack. But after sitting through this 84 minute feature in the cinema, I couldn’t help but felt cheated of what this film could have been. For this year alone, that makes two Ethan Hawke movies that made me feel this way. (The Purge being one of them) And I, for one, am disappointed beyond words.
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) was a talented race car driver who was forced to retire from his sport because he did not have the right temperament to go all the way to the top. After taking on seedy jobs that require his particular set of skills, he falls in love with his wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) and this makes him decide to choose a quiter life down the straight and narrow. When he arrives home one day to find his house ransacked and his wife missing, he is forced to take orders from a caller who claims to hold his wife captive. In a sleek the top of the line Shelby Snake rigged with cameras, he is tasked by the voice to wreak havoc to the city, endangering lives and causing massive damage on the streets. In the process, he meets a young woman (Selena Gomez) who claims to own the stolen vehicle. Before long, the duo are trapped into doing what the voice has commanded, later revealing the true purpose of the orders.
Getaway is basically Phone Booth in a car. However, unlike Phone Booth, audiences don’t really feel a sense of danger from the whole ordeal. There are no layers to the revelation which will complicate the plot and other than the actual identity of the mastermind, the plot grows pretty tedious. It was obvious that the wife was just a pawn and no matter how great an actor Ethan Hawke is, his panic wears on after saying the same thing in every conversation with The Voice. The same thing goes for the intricate car stunts — while at first, it was awesome, it slowly but surely lost its luster when pretty much the entire movie was one scene in repeat mode. There was even one prolonged scene where Brent was tailing a black SUV that went on for a couple of minutes. Just that, tailing.
I also had a problem with the casting of Selena Gomez. No matter how she tried to play the part of a rebellious teen, her role as a sports car afficionado/computer geek did not really sell. The gun pulling and the swearing was really just pathetic because she was just too cute for the part. She looked like a sulky little munchkin rather than the surly tough cookie that the film wanted her to be which kind of killed the intensity the filmmakers were gunning for, right there.
All in all, what Getaway managed to achieve was advertise the speed and durability of a Ford Shelby Snake limited edition and the mileage that this car could totally chalk in. Imagine, going around the city in top speed for an entire night without needing to gas up? That would be awesome if it were true. Aside from that, it also presented the story of the systematic destruction of a decked out $60,000 car, a fact that real life car geeks around the world are weeping over, no doubt. This movie made me really sad, really. I feel really bad for Ethan for sticking out his neck for this movie with the entire thing backfiring in the end.