Let The Games Begin
Director: Davd Twohy
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth, Katie Chonacas
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm
Rating: NC-16 (Some coarse language and references)
Official Website: http://www.iamrogue.com/aperfectgetaway
Opening Day: 10 December 2009
In the suspense thriller A Perfect Getaway, Cliff (STEVE ZAHN of Rescue Dawn, Out of Sight) and Cydney (MILLA JOVOVICH of the Resident Evil trilogy, upcoming The Fourth Kind) are an adventurous young couple celebrating their honeymoon by backpacking to one of the most beautiful, and remote, beaches in Hawaii. Hiking the wild, secluded trails, they believe they’ve found paradise. But when the pair comes across a group of frightened hikers discussing the horrifying murder of another newlywed couple on the islands, they begin to question whether they should turn back.
Unsure whether to stay or flee, Cliff and Cydney join up with two other couples—Nick (TIMOTHY OLYPHANT of Hitman, Live Free or Die Hard) & Gina (KIELE SANCHEZ of television’s Lost, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium) and Kale (CHRIS HEMSWORTH of Star Trek, upcoming Thor) & Cleo (MARLEY SHELTON of W., Grindhouse)—and things begin to go terrifyingly wrong. Far from civilization or rescue, everyone begins to look like a threat and nobody knows whom to trust. Paradise becomes hell on earth as a brutal battle for survival begins.
If one was to judge a movie by it’s trailer, A Perfect Getaway would have been written off as a formulaic snooze fest for a trip gone wrong with psycho killers. The sunny Hawaii beach and exotic jungle backdrop would probably be the only differentiating factor (or the defining factor) for a tried slasher genre flick. However (and thankfully), A Perfect Getaway is a film that you cannot judge by it’s trailer.
A Perfect Getaway is one of those suspenseful whodunits gems that effectively plays up the paranoia among the trippers and rejuvenate the convention of such genre.
It allows the viewers to slip into the shoes of the protagonists in guessing who among them might be a pair of serial killers on the loose. Could it be Kale (Chris Hemsworth) & Cleo (Marley Shelton), the couple with troubles written all over them or the charming & friendly couple, Nick (Timothy Olyphant & Gina (Kiele Sanchez) with their fishy tinge of killer instinct? The movie kept offering hints and detraction on who might be the guilty parties.
Kale & Cleo have the biggest suspicion as the murderous couple but they could also be red herrings (a plot device to divert attention) to throw the viewers on the wrong path in guessing. Nick & Gina could be charming couple who charms their victims into their trap before butchering them. It doesn’t help when they emits tell tale signs that something’s not so right with them. Last but not least, even the meek protagonists Cliff (Steve Zahn) & Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are not spared. As the movie progressed, the movie subtly reminds viewers that many serial killers often used their harmless appearance to trick their victims into the deception of safety.
It might even be the protagonists’’ excessive paranoia and the murderers are not among them. The suspicion about the characters just keeps shifting while tension builds for the final climatic revelation.
However the revelation for this whodunit movie could go either way. It could make the viewers embrace this movie or reject it. For some, it might seem that the filmmakers had gone overboard in misleading the viewers for an unexpected ending. Those who ponder about the rationale behind the twist could find it easier to accept the ending if they see it from the killers’ viewpoint. There are also plenty of well placed hints right in front of the viewers and it might require a second look to see the sneaky duality that the filmmakers had constructed the movie.
Besides that, the nice Hawaiian island backdrops just make this thriller a whole lot nicer to look at and the cast did well to bring about a certain dubious sentiment to their respective characters. Film lovers might enjoy the discussion of movie plot device like red herring in a movie with plenty red herrings and how the references to movie making process to famous movie dialogues were being worked into this mystery murder thriller. Nothing is what it seems and even minute actions placed in this movie often bear a big ramification at the end.
Looking back, one will even find that the title of the movie contains a certain a duality quality to it. It might be a bit hard to swallow at first but like any good murder mystery, A Perfect Getaway is just adequately developed to be deliberate upon. Personally, it’s the best whodunit film of 2009.
(A slash above it’s peers)
Review by Richard Lim Jr