An exercise in what you think you know…

Spider-Man: Far From Home, the first post-Endgame effort from the MCU, has been released…and it’s a winner! Tom Holland’s second time batting evil solo is a hilarious, imaginative and properly poignant piece of Marvel entertainment which will satisfy that summer holiday movie craving many feel at the start of July. Fans and detractors alike should find some real fun as they watch Peter Parker venture to Europe with his friends on what he hopes will be an exciting European vacation that quickly turns into something much bigger than he imagined.

It’s definitely not the first time a planned movie vacation didn’t go the way its holiday makers had intended. There are plenty of cinematic examples of trips and excursions gone awry, throwing its characters for a loop which not everyone manages to recover from. Yet none quite match the level of suspenseful entertainment than 2009’s under-the-radar thriller A Perfect Getaway.

Honeymooning love birds Cydney (Milla Jovovich) and Cliff (Steve Zahn) are celebrating their nuptuals by jetting off to Hawaii for the ultimate vacation. When the two decide to rent a jeep and take drive up to a remote part of the island for a hiking/camping adventure, the newlyweds encounter fellow travelers Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and his girlfriend Gina (Kiele Sanchez), as well as the menacing Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton). Unable to avoid any of them, Cydney and Cliff are made uneasy when news breaks over the radio about a murderous husband and wife team who have eluded the authorities and are loose on the very island the three couples are on.

The brilliance of A Perfect Getaway lies in its setup and structure. As expected, there is a twist coming and because of this, there is a very careful line and tone that the movie must walk, which it does exquisitely. From a genre standpoint, A Perfect Getaway knows the rules of the game and respects them, while managing to stand on its own as an elevated entry. There’s plenty of fun, playful suspense before the twist and the execution of the movie’s main revelation is handled so incredibly well, registering the shift in mood and feel the film suddenly takes. Yet it’s what happens after the reveal which helps A Perfect Getaway to rise far and above other titles of its kind. As soon as the movie’s big turn happens, gears switch and a pulsating action thriller takes its place with careful suspicion switched out for white knuckle tension as our heroic couple battles to stay alive. A screenplay’s architecture is a science; and it isn’t always the easiest of tasks to keep an audience interested and guessing. Yet writer/director David Twohy manages to do just that by proving early on that he has no problem straying from conventions and is more than intent on doing so.

While most good films are solid enough in their construction and effect to warrant a repeat viewing, watching a A Perfect Getaway a second time is all but essential. Seeing the events play out knowing in advance the twist that’s coming totally transforms this particular movie experience as the intricate crafting of the editing choices and script touches rise to the surface. The second viewing of A Perfect Getaway is a different movie; a more intriguing one that’s rooted in an intense desperation that’s simmering all the way through until the big reveal. When the reveal and subsequent action have their second turn at bat, the entertainment hasn’t diminished as the true nature of what we’ve seen before heightens the pulsating action. Seeing A Perfect Getaway again will reveal a darker psychological undertone; one rooted in twisted delusion fueled by a manic need for escape and survival. It is also upon repeat viewing that one begins to notice the different states of the three relationships presented. While one is codependent, another intoxicating, and the other just flat out toxic, seeing A Perfect Getaway again reveals a blend of all three.

This is the kind of movie actors can’t help but have a blast helping bring to life and all of the cast members know it. Jovovich excels playing a rare normal person for once, while Zahn is so much fun as the paranoid man trying to summon up a courage his character just wasn’t born with. Sanchez is such a magnetic presence and steals every on-screen moment the filmmakers were wise enough to give her, while Olyphant enjoys his best turn, going for broke a wild Indiana Jones-esque adventurer with a darker side (and pulling it off). Finally Shelton and Hemsworth take it to the top, going against type as a couple that’s right out of Charlie Manson’s Spahn Ranch.

If only more people had seen A Perfect Getaway. If only more people had KNOWN about A Perfect Getaway. Alas, the movie was buried in the doldrums of August, where it was ignored by an audience already weary from the likes of Watchmen and Transformers. Critics were at least complimentary about the movie, bestowing some genuinely kind reviews towards A Perfect Getaway and applauding it for being a refreshing piece of entertainment after another busy, bloated summer.

Unsurprisingly, the home video version of A Perfect Getaway came with a good-sized amount of extra footage taken out of the final cut, but which proves worth exploring nonetheless. The deleted scenes give depth to the characters, fleshing them out and offering up hints as to what makes them tick, hence probably why they were taken out. The material futhers the versatile nature of the movie as it emphasizes the noir elements (especially that motel room scene), amps up the romance and gives what ultimately happens in the finale an air of poetic tragedy. A Perfect Getaway is a stylish and well-crafted B-movie, which is probably why it remains obscure even to this day. Not even many of the rabid Justified or Resident Evil fans (who are eternal worshipers of those series’ stars) seem to be that familiar, or even aware, of this movie. But it’s all understandable; A Perfect Getaway was always destined to be the kind of movie you hope to find. Instead, it’s the kind which ends up finding you.

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