Friday, August 28, 2009

GETTING AWAY TO NARRATIVE BLISS AND A NICE SET OF PEAFOWL: A REVIEW FOR THE CAPTAIN




my dearest captain redbeard -

on the recommendation of your twitter feed, the wife and i caught a showing of A PERFECT GETAWAY tonight. i do not remember precisely what you said about the film, but there was some mention that you might have liked it. and liked it a great deal. since you've never led me astray (in films, music, or mexican eateries), i trusted you once again. and once again you proved true to your word. 

i liked A PERFECT GETAWAY. it was a bit more lighthearted and predictable than i expected. steve zahn did not serve a good thriller, but milla jovovich won me over ten fold and then some. not to mention the sweet georgia, kiele sanchez - who spoke sweeter than fine southern sweet tea and picked the fight when the fight needed confederate picking. in this film, the ladies completely outshined the menfolk, and they showed surprisingly little skin to do so. 

A PERFECT GETAWAY would have reminded me of you even if you had not recommended it. there was that night on your porch. pipes and rye ale and cider. you told me about your disdain for comedy in the zombie film genre. you said there's nothing funny about zombies. you said zombies show us something about our culture, about ourselves, about our lives pre- and post-  and wrapped up in our theologies: we were dead, yet we live; we will die; yet we will live. and the zombie film capacity to remark on this reanimation, you thought, superceded any need to make SHAUN OF THE DEAD jokes about the living dead.

i disagreed, but we smoked some good pipes. 

then here in A PERFECT GETAWAY, we have a dern near classic slasher flick that practically boils over with literary pomp and narrative circumstance. the subtext here overshadowed the text (which felt nearly absurd at times) and made every line of dialogue speak more like tennessee williams than sean s. cunningham. i had finally chocked slasher flicks up to comedic relief: the punch line at the end of the horror genre, packed in nicely and cymbal counted after all the possession cases, haunted houses, maniacal killers, rabid animals, japanese retellings, nightmarish clowns, cultish children, and man eating plants. slasher flicks are usually at the bottom of the horror genre food chain. jason and freddy and michael, although pretty in retail, are actually bottom-dwelling shrimp . . . . .  which are also pretty retail in the frozen dinner section.

but A PERFECT GETAWAY did something a bit different. the writers and directors used this film as a platform to discuss writing and directing. they allowed the process of the narrative to speak about the narrative process. and that was fucking brilliant, as well as wickedly refreshing and fun. 

just today i read "The King Of Birds": an essay by flannery o'connor from her nonfiction collection titled MYSTERY AND MANNERS. while reading the essay, this bit she had written about deformed bantams and strutting peacocks, i found myself enraptured by the idea that this here, in my hands, was flannery o'connor writing about writing. she was showing me how to put it together, how to line it up, how to fit the pieces so that the pieces matter. and she used this platform on peacocks to exercise her own writing, to concretely capture her zealous love for odd fowl. and i'm sure she never intended any of this, except the love of odd fowl part.

now, don't go thinking that i'm equating A PERFECT GETAWAY with flannery o'connor. nor should you think that i'm suggesting the film as fine as the peafowl essay. however, what i am trying to say is that A PERFECT GETAWAY offered some oddly literary sway that is uncommon in the slasher genre. you and i may be the only blokes on this block to agree. i feel that most people - 42% according to rotten tomatoes - will think that this film is bonk. they will think it is too predictable and too simplistic. 

fine. 

let them think as much.

personally, i thought A PERFECT GETAWAY spoke a great deal about the enduring (even jugular) quality of narrative. stories guide us. stories shape us. the stories we tell and the stories told of us work to define us. and the right story, or the wrong story, could reshape a notion in our existence we hoped to hold a bit safer. to scale a bit closer. 

truth be damned: we're talking narratives here.

i give A PERFECT GETAWAY 3 out of 5. for all the reasons explored above, but also for milla jovovich's surprisingly redefined character role. that lady has come a long way since RESIDENT EVIL. she's breaking her mold, and doing it fiercely. she might ought to consider collecting bantams as a good start to a new literary life.

let me hear your thoughts, good man. i miss your porch.

- hamster

1 comment:

joelburdeaux said...

Thank you for this...

I, in the process of enjoying the film, didn't take time to stop and notice 1/10 of what you did...

My impressions, like me, were more simple...

Too smart to be dumb...
Too sweet to be mean...
Too good to be bad...
Too crazy to be run-of-the-mill...
To much fun to not enjoy...

For me, to analyze a film like this, which I told Heather was like a combination of LOST and Natural Born Killers, would be o detract from my enjoyment.

This was pure enjoyable escape.
Not mindless, like summer blockbusters usually are, but engaging and a lot of fun.

(Although, my hope walking in was that Mr. Zahn would have finally had the chance to show off how completely awesome he is, so I was a little disappointed. But I felt like he played it better than it was written. I bought it.)