Great interesting movie. Has a Terrence Malick vibe, very meditative and a real look at relationships. Highly recommend!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Early on in Get Away If You Can – written by, directed by, and starring Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin – TJ (Martin) tells his father (Ed Harris) a brief story in order to justify the unbridled sea voyage that TJ and his wife Domi (Braun) will attempt to rejuvenate their languishing marriage. TJ tells his dad that when white explorers settled the land we would come to know as civilized America, some settlers moved into the wilderness to live with the Indigenous peoples discovered there. Meanwhile, natives came to live peacefully with the white settlers. And after some time passed, a number of the Native Americans gleefully returned to the harsh wilderness from which they'd come, but for some of the white settlers who had ventured into the wilderness of America, they refused to return to the safety of their brethren. They elected instead to remain with the "savages," as TJ's father would smugly refer to them. They chose for themselves a life of untethered and perhaps even uncertain freedom. They gave up the life they'd always known.
The story innocuously finds its way into Braun-Martin's family passion project, but you'll hear the echoes of it over the course of Get Away If You Can, a 90-minute cautionary tale of regret and romance (in no particular order) that passionately explores the fragile nature of love and the reinvigorating power of unadulterated nature (also in no particular order). And that story has no hint of an unhappy ending. As Get Away If You Can continues, we hope the same for this one.
The film tells the naturalistically raw story of a troubled married couple – Domi and TJ (Braun and Martin) – who have been drifting apart for some time. Encouraged by TJ's alpha male father (Ed Harris) and Domi's sister (Martina Gusman) to separate once and for all, the couple hopes that an open-ocean sail might reignite their marriage. However, they arrive at a dangerous deserted island and suddenly their marriage and physical lives are in peril. Now, they'll try to save both in a place far from the world of comfort that they've come to know.
The film's organic approach to storytelling – from the first uncomfortable moments of the film through the dizzying cinematic scans of the deserted island – remains its greatest asset. The movie, meanwhile, is sparsely cast, and the fewer hands on deck with a production of this nature, the better. (Only TJ's brother (Riley Smith) – caught in the middle of his brother's wishes to save his marriage and his father's wishes to see Domi sent packing – has gone uncredited in this review so far.) And with so few published production notes outlining the specifics of this particular film, it appears likely that the screenwriting team of Braun-Martin scripted the cast's responses to the movie's central conflicts to some effect. But in the hands of the performers Braun-Martin themselves, the script takes on an improvisational tone at every turn. This allows the film's unsettling moments of marital disquietude feel unsettlingly real – this also allows the film's propitiously romantic moments of marital bliss feel uniquely decadent. Weaving in and out of the film's central narrative – moving back and forth and to and fro from the more trying times in the couple's marriage to their best efforts to discover themselves anew on a deserted island and then back again – the film is consistently buoyed by the seemingly unscripted delivery of all of the film's players.
In this way, Get Away If You Can at all times feels like a living, breathing document of a marriage that we know and understand, even if we've never seen one like this up close. With its nonlinear storytelling, the film is more akin to watching a documentary about wild animals in their native habitat when all we've ever known is what they look like in a municipal zoo. It harkens back to both the raw unease of Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine and the twilight tenderness of Richard Linklater's Before trilogy yet insists itself masterfully as an incomparably independent thing. Aided by a team of cinematographers that breathe as much life into the topography of this island as the performers breathe life into the pain and serenity of its characters, the movie always feels like an intimate production of many like-minded producers with the shared, conspicuous goal of simply cataloging life, were it ever simple. They make it look easy.
So when faced with a lifestyle antithetical to what would make you truly happy, flee from it. Get Away If You Can. And when faced with the possibility of going somewhere that will inject happiness into your veins – happiness having been absent from your blood for so long – you should go, immediately. Get Away If You Can. At all times throughout Braun-Martin's film, the audience understands the duality of the film's title, and no translation – one or the other – ever maintains more power over the other. In fact, the different sums of both proverbs appear to hang in the wind like the varied instruments of an orchestral concert – just like Domi and TJ, both in need of one another simultaneously. Such is the synchronicity that the film demonstrates throughout: every relationship has its difficulties – even on a deserted island where you only trouble one another – but it's the rest of the world in which relationships try to thrive where those relationships often cannot survive.
Get away if you can.
What goes unspoken on the wind is that command for you to take stock of your surroundings at all times. And do it more often than not. It's the only way you'll ever truly understand if you're finally home, having moved that new home somewhere far, far away from where you once were. And if you find that you're not yet home – again: get away if you can.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I found it wonderfully atmospheric and hard to predict where it was going. It takes it's time in a refreshing way and develops unexpectedly toward the end.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Independent film. Slower. Great change of time, space and dialogue. Most excellent ending. Loved it!
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
It could have been good had there been more conflict/drama on the island. I wanted them to be forced to make that "live or die" decision and was left wanting.
Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars
This is one of the most boring and weird movies i have ever watched. Nothing happens. Nothing. A couple on a boat has an argument, and the wife goes to an island. And thats it. Nothing more. Trust me. I used to respect Ed Harris, who has made some great movies in the past, as The Rock, Glen Garry Glen Ross and a whole bunch more. But seeing him in this utter trash, has altered my view on him. Avoid this movie, or waste time you will never ever get back. One of the worst movies ever.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Wooden acting on the part of the male lead (TJ) from the beginning soured me on what this film might bring. I suppose Get Away if You Can was a treatise on toxic masculinity and how it, much like direct abuse, tends to flow from one generation to the next. Ed Harris did a passable job as a one-dimensional patriarch in a family lacking a mother figure. As it happens, this was almost certainly a direct consequence of his overt dislike of women, across the board. The story initially focuses on the male lead as protagonist, but we come to learn that his wife is actually the character we 'should' be rooting for. However, we aren't informed very well as to whether she had any blame in the demise of the relationship, or whether there was any concerted effort prior to the voyage to repair the marriage. Instead, there are snippets of TJ rebuffing his wife in seemingly minor day-to-day encounters which escalate into outright passive aggressive hostility. Why? Was his father's hold over his psyche that profound? If so, how?
Kudos to the directors for managing to film so many scenes on such a tight vessel at sea. The cinematography was A-movie caliber all around. But about 3/4 of the way through the film, it devolved into arthouse navel gazing with no deep lessons for the audience. I was left with more questions than answers and the hopes that these directors manage to craft a more complete film on the next go-round.