A Perfect Getaway (15)

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The Independent Culture

The world isn't short of Hollywood shockers about middle-class Americans who are presumptuous enough to pick a holiday destination more exotic than Disneyland, only to be punished by a serial killer or two – and A Perfect Getaway looks at first as if it's going to be yet another one. It opens with Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as a honeymooning couple who are hiking to a remote beach in Hawaii when they hear about a brutal double murder that happened nearby. Suddenly, everyone they meet on the trail seems to match the murderer's description, particularly a white-trash Iraq vet (the wonderfully lupine Timothy Olyphant), whose friendliness is offset slightly by the metal plate in his skull and the knife he has strapped to his ankle.

Time for some bloodshed? Actually, A Perfect Getaway is far more knowing and witty than the posters suggest, so there are tricks, games, bluffs and double bluffs to get through first. Zahn's character is a screenwriter, so there's also much talk of red herrings and Act Two twists, all of which is mirrored in the events that are unfolding. But it isn't a smug pastiche. David Twohy, the writer-director, succeeds in sending up the conventions of the survival thriller genre at the same time as he makes electrifying use of them.

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