Get Away If You Can, 2022.
Written and Directed by Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin.
Starring Dominique Braun, Terrence Martin, Ed Harris, Riley Smith, and Martina Gusman.
A troubled married couple hope that sailing across the open ocean might bring back the spark that’s been lost between them. But, their relationship is brought to the breaking point when one refuses to explore a mysterious deserted island.
The espoused filmmaking team of Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin (also playing the lead roles here) table set Get Away If You Can curiously enough. On a boat, it’s abundantly clear that the central couple, TJ and Domi, are disconnected from one another, all while the title flashes across the screen one word at a time. In an age where plenty of film titles are quick and to a generic point, this one sticks out and offers up a sense of dread (who is the one that should get away and why should they do so).
Then the characters start talking, revealing amateurish, unconvincing performances. However, that’s not what necessarily sinks Get Away If You Can, considering there is a degree of intrigue in these people’s lives and what has fractured their love life so much that a sailing trip (the film begins three weeks in) has become a last-ditch effort to rekindle the romance.
Flashbacks repeatedly break up the present, allowing a look into TJ and Domi’s polar opposite family lives. The former has been raised by the chauvinistic Alan (a red-pilled Ed Harris, appropriately scary in the role). He is also persuasive at indoctrinating his ugly beliefs into his adult children (TJ has a successful financial advisor brother played by Riley Smith).
Alan also preaches an unhealthy work rate, promising that the family surfing business will be TJ’s one day. As a result, TJ becomes so buried in this work (it’s never really made clear what makes the job so exhausting, which factors into much more significant issues with the story) that he loses every last bit of his sex drive and is incapable of pleasing the happy-go-lucky hippie artsy Domi, who is practically always horny.
Domi often makes unrequited sexual advances toward TJ on the boat, rejecting her advances because the spark isn’t there. That’s a guess, by the way, because it’s often muddled as to why TJ has no more romantic interest in Domi. Yes, there is his toxic upbringing and constant surroundings of a male father who views women as something to be dominated and his gender to be the captain in relationship dynamics.
Still, nothing is suggesting why things are falling apart on his end aside from nonexistent sexual energy, which also doesn’t make much sense since there’s no insight into why he is either no longer attracted or what about his job has him so drained. Someone working a new job certainly shakes up a routine but to this extent? It’s just confounding trying to pinpoint TJ’s hangups.
Meanwhile, Domi masturbates all alone. Aside from scuba diving, art, and traveling (all three of which barely play a part in her character), there’s not much to say about Domi other than the character is defined by her sex drive. By extension, so is this distant relationship. What’s most shocking about this is that the actor is also one of the screenwriters; how do you write your own character so blandly?
Nevertheless, TJ and Domi argue because the former has taken his father’s words literally and doesn’t want her to make any decisions. Domi wants to stop and check out the nearby island, but TJ refuses because, as the man, he has to stick to a plan. This causes Domi to run off and spend some time on the island, following TJ drinking himself to sleep.
The only scenes worth a damn here are the flashbacks for both leads. Ed Harris is all rage and anger, but believably so to where one can buy into TJ faced with taking on his father’s persona or finding the courage to break that chain and remain the sensitive, more adventurous type Domi loves. There is also some scheming between father and brother to break the couple up, ensuring that TJ stays focused on the family business. Domi also has flashbacks communicating with her sister (Martina Gusman) about love and the strains on the relationship, met with kindness and support that makes for an interesting juxtaposition regarding the family lives of the central couple.
What’s left is a movie where the flashbacks are more compelling than the stay at sea, which comes down to TJ and Domi wandering (at the very least, the sights and sounds are pretty and competently shot). There is also a secondary kick to the gut in that, while the acting leaves something to be desired, the writing runs in circles and is uninspired. If that wasn’t enough, Get Away If You Can also feature wildly out-of-place music; think electronic rave style while characters contemplate life on an island.
It’s frustrating that the ideas are bumbled here, considering there is worth exploring how some adult men become misogynistic jerks as products of their environment. Still, the script turns everything into a tedious bore (the movie is only roughly 75 minutes). There are elements to be curious about here, but for the most part, viewers are the ones that should get away while they can.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]