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Blu-Ray Review: ‘A Perfect Getaway’ is Surprisingly Effective Thriller

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CHICAGO – David Twohy’s surprisingly effective thriller “A Perfect Getaway” features good-to-great performances from Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn, and Kiele Sanchez, and a taut, interesting screenplay with enough twists and turns to keep the audience entertained for its scant running time. A gorgeously transferred HD picture should help this underrated film find an audience at home.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

“A Perfect Getaway” opens with home video footage shot at a wedding and then cuts to Cliff & Cydney Anderson (Zahn & Jovovich), a young couple on their honeymoon on the beautiful island of Kaua’i. All smiles as they drive a keep through the brush and take a helicopter ride, the two plan a 3-day hike to a beach that can only be reached by foot or kayak.

A Perfect Getaway was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 29th, 2009.
A Perfect Getaway was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 29th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures Home Video

On their way to the start of the trail, the Andersons run into another couple named Cleo & Kale (Marley Shelton & Chris Hemsworth). The drifter-looking hitchhikers are the opposite of the Andersons. He’s tattoo-ed. She wears dreadlocks. And the buttoned-up couple and the hippie one butt heads. Think Cleo & Kale will eventually end up on the same trail as our heroes? Don’t get ahead of the movie.

A Perfect Getaway was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 29th, 2009.
A Perfect Getaway was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 29th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures Home Video

On the journey itself, Cliff & Cydney cross paths with the adventurous Nick & Gina (Timothy Olyphant of “Damages” and “Deadwood” & Kiele Sanchez of “Lost”). He claims to be a former soldier and happens to be tough enough to kill a goat for dinner while on the adventure. This is not your normal honeymoon.

Three couples. One trail. It’s not long before a gaggle of giggling girls tell our characters that there was a recent murder in Oahu where a man and woman killed a couple before hopping over to Kaua’i. Is one of the three beach-bound couples the killers? Which one? Are Nick’s stories true? Are Cydney’s? And what role do those hitchhikers play?

Twohy, the talented writer/director of “Pitch Black,” plays with the conventions of his genre, dangling potential twists and turns as he writes tongue-in-cheek observations about “red herrings” into Cliff’s dialogue. Cliff happens to be a screenwriter, making for a script that knowingly winks at its audience and distracts it with one hand while it sets up the twist ending with another. Twohy the writer is clearly having a blast and it’s an infectious one that extends to Olyphant’s charismatic performance and another, typically strong turn from Zahn.

Any thriller with a big twist needs to have a crazy final act and “A Perfect Getaway” almost nails the completely nutty final reel. After Twohy reveals his hand, he goes completely off the rails, employing different film stocks, flashbacks, freeze frames, and more. What had been a relatively straightforward thriller turns into something totally weird that could turn off a lot of audiences, but made this critic appreciate a unique voice in what is so typically a predictable genre.

The absolute end of the film is a bit compromised (as proven by the alternate one available on the Blu-ray) and there are a series of flashbacks in the final act that are designed to fill in far more holes than needed to be, but “A Perfect Getaway” works much better than you might expect and should make a great Saturday night rental to more tropical climes during this frigid season.

The gorgeously transferred HD picture of “A Perfect Getaway” is so crystal clear that it will make you call your travel agent. As for special features, they’re a little light with a director’s cut that runs about ten minutes longer and the alternate ending.

‘A Perfect Getaway’ is released by Universal Pictures Home Video and stars Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, and Kiele Sanchez. It was written and directed by David Twohy. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 29th, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

I like this actress

I like this actress. She’s really good in Resident Evil.

Anonymous's picture

Win a signed script from A Perfect Getaway

Enter for your chance to win a copy of ‘A Perfect Getaway’ script signed by Milla Jovovich http://bit.ly/d2tcsl

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