A Perfect Getaway (2009)

Rated: R for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use.
Length: 98 minutes
Grade: B+FCC=B
Budget: $14 million
Box Office: $27 million (16 U.S., 7 Intl., 4 DVD)

Written and Directed by: David Twohy (The Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Arrival, and Timescape. Also wrote GI Jane, Waterworld, and The Fugitive)
Starring: Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, and Kiele Sanchez.
With: Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth.

A newlywed couple on their honeymoon in Kauai run into trouble on a remote hike when it seems they are either being stalked by or actually accompanied by a newlywed-murdering couple.

Entertainment Value: B+
The one thing I can say about this movie is it was very fun. I found is much more interesting than I expected. In fact, I think I got this because it was available and I hadn’t seen it yet when nothing else fit that category. It’s a suspense thriller with interesting characters and enough mystery to make it interesting. Call it a much less psychedelic version of Natural Born Killers. I can’t really explain why this did so poorly at the theaters. It really has all the right elements for a successful thriller. Even Rotten Tomatoes gives it 61% favorable.

Superficial Content: F
Drugs/Alcohol D, Sex/Nudity C, Violence F, Language F
One scene involves Crystal Meth. There is sporadic sexuality, some almost-nudity, and a couple of sexual remarks. Language is 20+ F words and about the same for medium profanity, enough on its own to easily earn the R rating. Violence is fairly strong, including murders, violent fights, and enough blood to also justify the R rating. Definitely not for kids!

Significant Content: C
Envy is very dangerous. Psychopaths learn to be very good at lying. Be careful whom you trust. Sometimes our first impressions of people can be very mistaken. Even paranoid people have real enemies.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
I think my favorite concept in this movie is the brief line where Tim Olyphant says to Steve Zahn that the key to a good movie is having a good story. Say whatever else you might about this movie, the story is excellent. This means the writer (David Twohy, with plenty of credits) believes his own advice.

Discussion Questions:
~As the movie unfolds, which characters do you bond with? Which ones do you want to see succeed, and why?
What are your initial impressions of each character? How do your prejudices bias you for or against them? How many of your initial impressions turn out to be right? Wrong?
~It’s been said that a good movie is really just a con game (Brothers Bloom is a good example of this taken seriously). How is this movie a con? Who in this movie is conning whom?
~People who themselves have boring lives often envy people who have “lived” more fully. How is this a factor in your own life? Have you ever wished you could be someone else? Have you ever embellished on your own life to seem more interesting than you really are?
~Would you say this movie is an extended morality play about the dangers of envy? How does this movie manipulate our own sense of envy and resentment to accomplish its purposes?
~Solipsism is the philosophical theory that only I exist and everything and everyone else is just a figment of my imagination. Who in this movie is a solipsist? What artistic device does this movie use to portray the reality of a solipsist? How is selfishness just the beginning stage of solipsism?
~Why do you think we aren’t more worried about our safety when out in the wilderness away from society? Should we be? Do movies like this help?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~At the top of the waterfall.
~On the beach, frozen in time.
~Gina telling about her past.
Overall Grade: B
A far more entertaining film than the box office would indicate. Nevertheless, it’s definitely R and don’t watch it if language or violence bothers you.

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