‘Getaway’ devolves into nothing more than noise

The car does not get top billing, but — with all due respect to Ethan Hawke — maybe it should.

The true star of “Getaway” is a Shelby Cobra Mustang, tricked out with (we are told) some kind of bulletproof armor and a great many tiny surveillance cameras.

Hawke plays a former race-car driver whose wife is kidnapped in Sofia, Bulgaria; he’s ordered to get behind the wheel of this car, which doesn’t belong to him, and wait for further instructions.

All this happens in the first 60 seconds or so of the movie, which has no time for a slow build.

So our hero is inside the vehicle for about 90 percent of the picture. Along with the mysterious, sadistic voice over the intercom, Hawke is shortly joined by a teenager (former Disney TV star Selena Gomez), whose purpose will be made clear as the script (by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker) winds its way through the streets.

The mystery of why this unfortunate driver is being forced to careen recklessly into crowded plazas and steer in circles around Sofia’s traffic grid is enough to keep us hanging in there for a while.

Even the crummy dialogue can’t entirely deflect curiosity about the lightly accented voice calling the shots (after a while I recognized the mostly unseen Oscar-winning actor in the role, but will keep mum in case it’s supposed to be a spoiler).

Ethan Hawke can usually be counted on to bring an outsider feel to this sort of genre flick, but he’s especially hemmed in here, not just by the car, but by a hyperactive editing style that leaves few shots on screen for longer than three seconds or so.

There’s one exception, and it’s the best moment in the film: an unbroken single-take sprint along city streets at dawn, seen from the front of a speeding car.

The car chases don’t even look that good — many of the shots have a cheap digital sheen, which is supposed to approximate the viewpoint of the little surveillance cameras that the evil mastermind has installed on the car. But the whole movie’s so dark, everything ends up looking equally blah.

The director is Courtney Solomon, who did “An American Haunting.”

Could be “Getaway” (in which the point is not to get away, incidentally) was intended as an exercise in sleek style, a car movie in the manner of “Drive.” The heroes of both films wear cool jackets, but the similarity ends there; one movie is style, the other is noise.

“Getaway” (two stars)

Ethan Hawke frantically tries to locate his kidnapped wife while at the wheel of a Shelby Cobra Mustang, as an evil mastermind gives him orders. This movie might have been an exercise in style, like “Drive,” but the hyperactive editing approach turns into sheer noise after a while. With Selena Gomez.

Rated: PG-13 for violence.

Showing: Cinebarre, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Meridian, Oak Tree, Woodinville, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor.

More in Life

Sheet-pan suppers: Make an entire meal on one sheet pan

Entire cookbooks are devoted to the trend, along with the inevitable blogs.

Rose Johnson, 80, is a member of the Everett Area Newcomers Club, which meets and dines once a month at Sno-Isle Tech’s student-run Le Bistro Restaurant. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Old-timers can join the Everett Area Newcomers Club

Everett group welcomes women for friendship and fun at multiple meet-ups.

From Jasper to Banff: A Canadian adventure in an RV

Jennifer Bardsley plans to take her family on two-week roadtrip through Canada in a tent trailer.

Pureed soup is a smooth way to get your vegetables in winter

Coconut curry carrot soup is a fulfilling way to start a meal or to serve alongside a sandwich.

Skippers share sea stories at Marysville speaker series

The Bellingham couple will talk about charter cruises on the historic wooden vessel they rebuilt.

Hearty chickpea, pasta soup warms up wintry nights

Serve this ancient Roman dish with a warm cauliflower salad, which also is from Italy.

Expo in Stanwood can help you get ready for the country

The Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool is set for Jan. 27 at the high school.

Anxiety, or chronic worry, is a growing problem

Paul Schoenfeld shares four approaches to help keep your anxiety from getting out of control.

Find many of our region’s winter birds in the Skagit Valley

If you love birding, also check out these bird-related festivals, lectures and other events.

Most Read