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First Look Review - GETTING OUT

An ill conceived criminal venture lands two friends in hot water with a violent mobster.


Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Nick Felice

Starring: Kevin Hartzman, Michael Renda, Ashley-Rene Everest, George Avgoustis, Jerry Hayes




"If you’re on the prowl for a suspenseful, slick thriller that does everything it’s supposed to, then you could do far worse than put your trust in Getting Out."






True to its generic context, trust is a major issue for the characters in Nick Felice’s snappy, foul mouthed thriller Getting Out. Throughout its lean and mean running time, its shady lowlifes make much reference to the impossibility of dependence, issuing statements like, ‘I swear, when you can’t trust the people you work with, who da fuck can ya trust?’, assuredly chewing the invective like the butt of a lit cigar. And who can blame them for their lack of faith? After all, they live in a world where low shot gangsters swig from heavy whisky tumblers, where women are sharp, sexy and unscrupulous, and the schlub at the centre of it all bemoans the impending foreclosure of his home with the old chestnut, ‘Do you realise I have to cough up $700 in child support?’
You bet that we’re in typical crime thriller territory, as old pals Wilkes (Kevin Hartzman) and Derek (Michael Renda), scheme together to land that one big score, Wilkes grifting in order to settle the debts outlined above, and Derek to win the love of a good/bad woman (Ashley-Rene Everest). To call these guys small time would be an understatement - Wilkes is a dead beat dad who forgets to pick up his kid, and Derek does his thinking with a part of his body way south of his brain - so how on earth are these pair of mooks going to get away with robbing their ace named but bellicose boss Victor Spilotro (George Avgoustis, not so much chewing as devouring the scenery in a fun performance), and his Chigurh-esque hitman Bronson (Jerry Hayes), who is an even badder bad man than mob boss Vincent?
Getting Out’s Coen influence is further evident in the characterisation of Wilkes and Derek: in a manner contradictory to the way crime flicks can confer glamour upon criminals, in Getting Out, just like Ray in Blood Simple or Jerry in Fargo, these guys are simply idiots: chancers who are full of bluff, motivated by greed and hubris, and relying on volatile luck and brute force to fulfil their goal. I’ve always liked the representation of criminals as amateurish, as, aside from being a more convincing portrayal of low life, it throws up more opportunity for plot twists. Getting Out gets this; these guys are desperate, clueless and in over their head. And, thus, as the duplicity between the characters deepens, Felice’s screenplay throws further shadows of complexity across the plot, creating a situation where the players would do well to remember their own advice; that no one is to be trusted. The encroaching presence of Bronson, a man who saran wraps his victim’s faces before watching them suffocate to death, doesn’t help Wilkes and Derek’s predicament either, but it certainly stokes the suspense further.
As well as being well structured, the film is gracefully shot by Nic Carr, who has a clear, cinematic eye throughout the film, offering composed and careful photography that brings the uneasy world of Wilkes and Derek to life, and presents the familiar tropes of the plot in a fresh light. The film is pointedly set in Detroit - Spilotro ridiculously spits that ‘I am Detroit’ whenever his authority is questioned - a city besieged by economic difficulty and violent crime, and there is a corresponding bleakness to Getting Out; the action promised by the title becomes the abiding motivation for these characters, who are stuck in this frustrated, shattered world.
Like the duo’s plans, Getting Out is not without flaws - the acting is largely fine, but seems at times a little under-rehearsed, and one plot point, involving a brother, does slightly stretch credibility - but if you’re on the prowl for a suspenseful, slick thriller that does everything it’s supposed to, then you could do far worse than put your trust in Getting Out.




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