Two pairs of lovers (Zahn & Jovovich, Olyphant & Sanchez) on a Hawaiian vacation discover that psychopaths are stalking and murdering tourists on the islands.
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In the summer of 1999 the M. Night Shyamalan gave the world his greatest film The Sixth Sense (as of 2009). It was a drammatic film about the relationship between a kind children's psychiacrist and his new patient, a young boy who possesses a gift of seeing dead people. The film also had a twist in the end that shocked audiences. The twist worked because you didn't see it coming because you never saw a twist like that in a film before. In many ways The Sixth Sense has been a curse for Shyamalan's career because everytime we watched his future films we are watching for the twist and not really the story itself.
And in many ways Shyamalan has ruined many other films because of the giant succcess of The Sixth Sense. Because in the copycat world of Hollywood twist films have become as common as any other major genres. And if you are making a thriller these days you better have yourself a twist ending or else they won't distribute it. It's been 10 years since TWIST and REALITY TV jumped into the mainstream and they aren't going away. But is this a good thing or a bad thing?
With a film like A Perfect Getaway I think it's a bad thing. The opening shots tell the audience that there is a twist that's going to SHOCK the audiences at the end. So I then end up watching the entire film with those pair of glasses and I'm really not paying attention to anything else BUT trying to figure out what the twist is. So the story itself and the entertainment value of the character's travels plus the beautiful Hawaii scenery are all thrown out the window for me because it's all about the twist. And if you're paying attention when watching A Perfect Getaway you see the twist coming by the 40 minute mark.
Or maybe this is a good thing. Perhaps we are the detective in these type of movies and that is the entertainment value. After all it always pushes our ego if we are the ones who can figure it out. Then again EVERYONE I talked to knew the twist when they saw The Sixth Sense. Kind of like how every single person seems to win when they go to Vegas eventhough the city pulls in billions of dollars from people losing a gambling. We all want to be the one who figures things out, just like I was proud of myself for figuring out the twist in A Perfect Getaway (like how I won big in Vegas last time I was there). That seems to be our new entertainment. If we're the smart ones then we are then entertained. Or if we're the ones who vote for the winner in American Idol, then we're the ones who can say I told you so.
In this current world it's all about winning and the twist films tug at that addiction most of us have. We want to be the ones.
But I believe in the school of the soap opera twist. The type of moment where we you won't believe who dies in Pyscho or gues who's Luke Skywalker's father is. Shocking moments that are a part of the story but not the story itself. A Perfect Getaway is a film about the shock at the end and the only reason we're watching is to figure out what it is. And of course it's always not what you expect and never is the obvious choice.
I'm not sure what I think of A Perfect Getaway. Perhaps it's a better film if they just told us the twist in the first minute and then we can just watch it to see what happens. I really think the film would work even better. It always worked for Columbo where we see who the murderer is in the first scene and we watch to figure out how Columbo figures it out. So we're always a step ahead of the main character.
These days Hollywood always wants to make films where the audience is always a step behind the action. Like we're not smart enough to be with the story step by step.
I loved Timothy Olyphant's performance in A Perfect Getaway. He has the ability to be really charming having the audience in the palm of his hand and then two seconds later giving a look as it he's the creepiest guy in the world. There is a TV show on HBO or Showtime that needs to be created for him because I think his acting style is more suited for episodic stories. He's a complex guy and you can't truly understand the character's he plays in 2 hours time as there is just too much going on.
A Perfect Getaway