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With: Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton, Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Ruivivar, Dale Dickey, Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, Wendy Braun, Jim Cruz, Angela Sun, Leandra Gillis, Amit Yogev, Carlos Alberto Lopez
Written by: David Twohy
Directed by: David Twohy
MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use
Running Time: 97
Date: 08/06/2009
IMDB

A Perfect Getaway (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Island Cutthroats

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

At any given moment, the movies have employed relatively few sturdy, B-movie makers with an all around expert sense of timing, mood, pacing and action. These filmmakers rarely get hired for prestigious projects or high-profile tentpole pictures, and they rarely get any attention, but when they turn out genre pictures as good as David Twohy's A Perfect Getaway, they deserve as much or more applause than all the money-makers and award-winners in Hollywood. Twohy himself is such a filmmaker, having made good films like Pitch Black (2000) and Below (2002), as well as written screenplays like The Fugitive (1993) written for other directors. (His 1996 film The Arrival is supposed to be quite good, too, but I haven't seen it yet. I hope to catch up with it soon.)

A Perfect Getaway starts with confidence and rarely steps wrong; it knows exactly where to go and what to do. A sweet newlywed couple, Cydney (Milla Jovovich) and Cliff (Steve Zahn) embark on their Hawaiian honeymoon, videotaping their gooey love talk. They prepare for a hike to an isolated, beautiful beach, but while driving they stop for a scary hitchhiking couple, Cleo (Marley Shelton) and Kale (Chris Hemsworth). Later, they meet another strange, vaguely sinister couple, Gina (Kiele Sanchez) and Nick (Timothy Olyphant), who are headed to the same beach. Nick likes to tell stories of his days as a special military secret agent (he calls himself an "American Jedi"). Some other suspicious characters turn up in the enchanted Hawaiian forests as well, and it is revealed that a couple of killers are on the loose, targeting newlywed couples. Cydney and Cliff begin to suspect that some of the people they have met may be the guilty parties.

Twohy's brilliantly crafted screenplay is filled with sly exchanges, each with potential double meanings. But any of it could go in any direction, or in no direction at all; he plants clues, but gives nothing away. As a director, he slips in many superb sequences, such as stalking an intruder through the rain in what looks like a jungle filled with menacing, angled bamboo sticks, or a showdown in a sea cave. A Perfect Getaway is not one of those movies that continually ramps up the suspense and leaves you feeling wrung out; Twohy plays his film like a piece of music, with ups and downs, pauses and rests and sudden attacks. He takes time for the characters, and none of them comes out as sneeringly one-dimensional. Sure, we can't really classify this picture as any kind of masterpiece or work of art, but, along with Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, it's the best pure popcorn movie I've seen all summer.

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