When his wife is kidnapped, former racing driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is forced to carry out the instructions of a mysterious voice at the other end of the telephone. Magna is forced to commandeer a car, but a spanner is thrown into the works when the Kid (Selena Gomez) who owns it decides to come along for the ride.
There is something instantly familiar about Getaway; not only does the film feel like a motion version of Phone Booth, but there are touches of Drive, Taken, and Knight and Day about the film. A combination of these film sounds like a winner, but there is something lacking about Getaway.
Ethan Hawke does fine with the role he is given as Brent Magna. Unfortunately, most of his dialogue is hugely expositional, and repetitive as he insists he wants his wife back, and that Gomez should not point a gun in his face. Selena Gomez does not do much better in terms of dialogue, as she constantly talks about how rich and clever she is. Jon Voight comes off worst of all, his quips as chaos reigns are cringe worthy and his instructions – most of which are to smash up stuff with the car – make little or no sense. Thankfully, we are not here for dialogue – although an action film with something smart to say would be nice – instead we are here to see car chases through the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria, and that’s what we get.
Writers Sean Finegan and Greg Maxwell Parker seems to have had a great idea for chase sequences, and were not sure how to string them all together. This leads to a script that is littered with flashbacks, nonsensical choices with regard to timing, technology and narrative. In fact, at the end of the film so little is resolved, and there are so many plot holes, the audience may be left wondering what they just watched and what the point of it was. There is no story to be told here, there are only chases. The only saving grace is one beautiful tracking shot of a drive at sunrise, but even this is not enough to detract from the nonsense going on here.
Getaway is director Courtney Solomon’s third film behind the camera, after Dungeons and Dragons, and An American Haunting. Solomon obviously relishes creating and shooting the chase sequences – of which there are many – as they are all incredibly fast passed, fun and just a little bit silly. Outside of the chases, the pacing of the film is a mess as almost everything comes to light within the first 40 minutes, and the rest is spent mooching around in cars, and although Gomez and Hawke try their best to create well rounded characters with emotion and motivation, they are continually hampered by a trite script and director who seems to think dialogue is secondary to action.
Getaway is a film that pays very little attention to narrative, structure or characters, instead focusing on cars, driving and speed. Finegan and Parker’s screenplay is laughable and Solomon’s direction is lacklustre at best. The film is left open for a sequel, but it is a safe bet that this will not be on the horizon any time soon. Some of the chases are fun though, and it’s nice to see Gomez move a little further away from the nice girl image she cultivated early in her career, even if her character is paper thin.