Retro Steady Cut: A Perfect Getaway, 10 Years Later Honeymooning
On this day ten years ago, A Perfect Getaway was released from director David Twohy, the man that bought us the Pitch Black trilogy, Below and Charlie Sheen’s The Arrival (don’t mix that one up with the Denis Villeneuve one). Starring Steve Zahn (War for the Planet of the Apes), Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood: The Movie), Milla Jovovich (Fifth Element), Kiele Sanchez (Lost), Marley Shelton (Planet Terror) and an early role for Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Endgame), this is a thriller that never truly lit up the box office, making just under $23 million worldwide.
I will be looking at spoilers in this film, so let’s rewind ten years to see if it still holds up.
A Perfect Getaway follows a newlywed couple, Cliff (Zahn) and Cydney (Jovovich), who have headed off to Hawaii for the honeymoon with plans to visit the beauty spots. The couple seem like an innocent couple that is just looking to have a good time, but it appears clear that the real couple has been murdered and the film starts showing couples the pair meet, first Cleo (Shelton) and Kale (Hemsworth), and then Nick (Olyphant) and Gina (Sanchez). With Nick being a fast talker, it makes us believe he could be a killer, though Kale’s build and aggressive nature wandering the roads suggest that he could be a danger. As the couples travel along the hiking trail they get to know each other and start suspecting each other.
A Perfect Getaway does have a major twist in it, which that is that Cliff and Cydney are in fact the imposters. If you watch the opening sequences with the couple, it shows them practicing the life they have stolen from a real newlywed couple that they have killed; the little moments like stories of their childhood and how they met come from wedding recordings they have stolen. One of the first conversations between Cliff and Nick includes talking about a red herring in a story. The fact the Cliff is keeping up with the story on his phone, including looking at a released photo and pointing fingers at Nick, only continues to throw us off the trail and look for someone else to take the fall, including framing Kale and Cleo, with the line while looking at a photo ‘perfect for framing’. The fact the natural reaction to the news from Cliff and Cydney helps make them seem like the least likely suspects, we even get the hints that Nick is asking too many questions, that Kale doesn’t want people to know the couple, and the store clerk looking like they might be looking into his next victims. The story also starts to hint at the idea Nick and Gina could be their next victims, deciding to spend more time with the couple, just to get to know their personal information.
A Perfect Getaway does have one of the strongest casts around for a film released in 2009. We took Milla Jovovich, who was right in the middle of the Resident Evil franchise and had made her name in the horror and sci-fi genres; Timothy Olyphant who was fresh off the back of Deadwood, the main villain in Die Hard 4.0, Hitman and just before becoming the lead in Justified; Steve Zahn who has always been a character actor since the mid-1990s and not to mention just how big Chris Hemsworth has gone onto become, proving in this one he is a muscularly figure, but there was always going to be more than muscle.
A Perfect Getaway is a perfect mix of suspense, misdirection and beautiful locations. The fact that you do need to watch this twice to pick up on the little foreshadowing that has been given to us, and the acting that perfectly helps us go down the wrong directions too. Steve Zahn and the usual heroine Milla Jovovich being the villains isn’t something we are remotely looking towards, especially with the fact Timothy Olyphant had been known for his villainous performances. By switching the casting, we are left surprised by the outcome. This is one that I highly recommend watching, just be prepared for everything you see and hear in the film.