Review by Sean Boelman
Sometimes, independent filmmakers are able to get a big enough star attached to their project in a cameo role to boost its profile despite it being otherwise unnoteworthy. That is the case with Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin’s Get Away If You Can, a baffling attempt at profundity that often feels needlessly confusing.
The movie follows a couple with a broken marriage as they set out on a journey to rekindle their relationship by sailing across the open sea, only for further disillusionment to brew when one refuses to explore a mysterious island. If that seems like a random combination of words that doesn’t make much sense — it doesn’t work much better in execution.
When stripped down to its barest aspects, this is effectively a pretty straightforward melodrama. And yet there is a nonlinear structure, cutting back and forth between the couple’s constant bickering in the present and advice they had received in the past from various parties, that makes the story much more convoluted than it needs to be.
If your idea of fun is watching a bickering couple yell at each other for an hour and twenty minutes, you might find some enjoyment here, but a majority of audiences will find this generally unpleasant. It isn’t even an argumentative film in a stressful way — it’s just dull and uninteresting, and gives the audience no characters to particularly like.
The biggest name in the movie is Ed Harris, who gets a few scenes as a bigoted jerk who gives terrible advice to the main couple. It’s a role that is entirely unnecessary and bafflingly bad. Riley Smith has even fewer scenes, but at least the purpose of his character isn’t to offend. The filmmakers play the main two roles themselves and do a terrible job at it.
The movie also manages to give off extremely mixed messaging, making it difficult for any audience to really take away anything from it. Everything that is being depicted on screen is extremely toxic, and yet, there is nothing here that really condemns the behaviors of anyone, leaving a problematic taste in viewers’ mouths.
In a way, the film is an exercise in style-over-substance, but that is particularly inexcusable when the style isn’t even that good. There are a couple interesting camera shots, but more often than not, they feel out of place, such as a choreographed sex scene that feels more like it should be in a music video than a feature film. The music is also often laughably mismatched to the movie.
Get Away If You Can is one of those films that you can tell was a passion project for the filmmakers, but it just did not pan out. I’m sure they are happy that they got to make a movie with a couple of big stars, but the end product is very hard to watch.
Get Away If You Can hits theaters and VOD on August 19.