Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

Film Log: A Perfect Getaway

The best way I can think of summing up this film is to say that it’s a bit like Scream set in Hawaii and made by Shyamalan. Like Scream, it has some interesting things to say about the relationship between the archetypal narratives of Hollywood and the narratives people choose for their own lives. The plot is too thin for such weighty material, however, and the result is some deeply unconvincing dialog at the conclusion and a five minute passage in the middle of the film which is basically the author’s footnotes.

These considerations aside, though, it’s not a bad flick. The scenery and the cast (well the men at least) are equally decorative and the script isn’t bad; overall, the combination is pretty watchable. The second half is fast-paced and the action sequences are compelling if a little predictable, and there’s plenty of blood and body parts to make up for the slightly anodyne first half.

Spoilers Follow

This film effects a reversal of dark and light half way through the story, using some Shyamalan-like deceptions. This is a tough trick to pull off, and the writers do two things to help themselves, one of which is the above-mentioned footnote, where the deceptions are reframed and the truth revealed. The other is to make the protagonist whiny and ineffectual, while the antagonist has more the cut of the traditional hero. The result is rather like watching Woody Allen waking up in the middle of a slasher flick, with the possibility of it turning into Deliverance at any moment.

Moreover, once the switch is made, the film pretty much runs out of ideas – the psychopaths go on the rampage while the newly appointed protagonists do their best to survive. This is well-executed, but undistinguished.

Uncomfortable Plot Summary: Role-playing enthusiasts’ holiday cut short..

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Filed under: Film + TV

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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