by Patrick Bromley
If you've spent any time reading this site, you probably already know that I'm a fan of writer/director Eric England. In full disclosure, he and I have been friendly online and he has even joined me on the podcast a couple of times. If you think this means I cannot give his latest film as objective a review as I am capable of giving, you should stop reading now. I am going to do my best to be fair, but keep in mind that no single review you have ever read -- not from any critic -- is 100% objective. It is not possible when examining art. I'm not particularly interested in objectivity in my film discussions, anyway, but rather curated subjectivity. I want to hear how a person feels, not some detached position.
With its crime-gone-wrong plot and the manner in which it uses violence as a punchline, there's a very late-'90s quality to Get the Girl. For once, I don't mean that as a pejorative. This isn't some bullshit post-Tarantino rip-off that's 20 years too late, but it is slick and brightly colorful in a way that reminded me of late '90s/early 2000s horror even though it's really not a horror film. Though England is best known for his work in that genre, Get the Girl is more of a comic thriller in the vein of Very Bad Things or early Coen Brothers than it is his earlier horror efforts like Madison County or Contracted. Reuniting with his cinematographer Mike Testin, England uses the full width of the 2.35:1 widescreen frame for long, ambitious tracking shots and bathes the film in neon blues, pinks and purples for his best-looking and most polished film to date. It feels like a big step forward for hime on a technical level, and enjoying the filmmaking on display is a big part of the fun I had with the movie.
Beyond some of that stickiness, Get the Girl is wicked sharp fun. Dobies does his best to make Clarence likable given the circumstances and Whitson gives Alex a fierceness that belies her "damsel in distress" role, while Noah Segan and co-star Adi Shankar (who is also the producer responsible for many of those "bootleg universe" fan films like Joseph Khan's Power Rangers and Joe Lynch's Truth in Journalism) more or less steal the movie with their off-kilter comic timing that makes each laugh a well-earned surprise. This is a story populated by mostly reprehensible characters -- only Alex is really an innocent -- but we never sit there hating them because we're having too good a time. It's a difficult trick that England pulls off.