Taking place in Bulgaria, Hawke plays Brent Magna, a former racing car driver who arrives home one night to discover that his beloved wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped by a mystery attacker. The villain then customises a Mustang for our beleaguered protagonist, before setting him on a series of twisted missions in a bid to have his wife brought safely back to him. Matters get even more complicated however, when the owner of the car (Selena Gomez) gets involved, wanting to know where her stolen vehicle is being taken too. Though only young, Brent is instructed to not allow her to leave, as the pair embark on a thrilling race against time, with a chilling voice on the phone dictating their every move.
It’s incredibly difficult to believe in this inane set of events, because it’s all so forcefully cinematic, with little rhyme nor reason as to why this random person is advising Brent to undertake all of these needless, life-threatening tasks. The only palpable reasoning is that it looks good on the big screen, as this mysterious villain says things like, “Now drive into that lorry with all the water bottles on the back of it”. Why? Because he’s desperate to cause a spillage? Or because he wants the audience to think it looks cool? It’s all so contrived, and he comes across more like a film producer than a dangerous psychopath. Everything just feels like it’s been implemented for purely cinematic purposes, as opposed to being a means of driving the narrative forward.
There are only so many car chases you can endure too before it gets unbearably tedious. There isn’t any real plot to this film, it’s just effectively one long car chase, and by the end of proceedings you honestly couldn’t care less about seeing yet another vehicle flip over. The film is unrelenting in this aspect, though that’s not necessarily a good thing, and more build up would be welcomed. Meanwhile, there is no character development to either of our two leads, while they share no chemistry at all, with forcefully witty dialogue shared between them that is just uncomfortable to watch at the best of times. Other characters devoid of development are the antagonists of the piece, who, in this instance, are just the ‘Europeans’. Similarly to Argo in that respect, we just have a series of villains who aren’t fleshed our nearly enough, with little personal identity between them.
For such a likeable actor, Hawke’s Brent is not a sympathetic lead in any way shape or form either, as not only do we know so little about him, but in attempting to save his wife, he drives like a complete maniac, putting hundreds upon hundreds of innocent bystander’s lives at risk in the process. Seeing as we don’t know nor care much for his wife either, you just spent most of the film concerning yourself with road safety. I know your wife is in danger mate, but potentially killing loads of other people isn’t the answer. Two wrongs don’t make a right, you know.
With a relatively enjoyable premise, sadly Solomon’s Getaway deviates carelessly from simplicity, becoming increasingly fatuous and convoluted as we progress towards the latter stages. One positive, however, is that the film has a modest running time, and it flies by, which, all things considered, is something of a positive.