Saturday, August 08, 2009


I'm out of town, visiting family. There is a trampoline on the backyard and the cat gets on it.

I also saw David Twohy's A Perfect Getaway today. Pretty much agree with the NYTimes review--it was really fun. (Ebert's review is also worth reading.) About a geeky, vulnerable couple (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) on honeymoon in Hawaii where they encounter a scary, scarified Iraq vet (Tim Olyphant, great) who may or may not have murdered another pair of honeymooners earlier in the week. "He's really hard to kill," his girlfriend (played by the gorgeous and naked Kiele Sanchez) says proudly, conveying a promise right from the screenwriter to you. And there's another ominous couple, Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth, whose bag contains something nasty.

The movie's especially interesting from a storytelling perspective. In some ways it's a "meta" movie, about the construction of story and character. It kind of cheats, I felt at first, but on second thought I decided that accusing it of cheating is like accusing Funny Games of cheating: That's kind of the point. Because it tells you how it's going to cheat and, later, how and why it cheated. Also it does something wonderful, which is free the audience from the burden of at least nominal alignment with the "good guy," which is always a problem in horror movies. Like for example in Friday the 13th we really don't care that much about whoever the protagonist is, some running/screaming thing, kind of a nerd, whatever... we're more interested in Jason. But of course we can't actively align our interests with his because, well, he's evil. (Or, for a more out-there example of the same kind of problem, we're not as taken with Henry Hill in Goodfellas as we are with Jimmy Conway or Tommy DeVito.) A Perfect Getaway does a very cool switch-up midgame that frees the audience from its alignment with the milquetoasts and invites it to guiltlessly/enthusiastically get on board with the scary guy with the big knife. You can cheer for the Joker without being a nihilist.

I note that in the movie's paint-by-numbers trailer, they have added a black CGI-bikini to Kiele Sanchez in the scene where she's lying under the waterfall:


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, now you and Lucius Shepard have both had interesting things to say about this movie. Guess I'll have to go see it.

Jeff P.

N A said...

Yeah! And everything else aside, I also just thought it was a lot of fun.