It’s a rarity when the name of the movie tells you what to do if you see it playing in theaters or come across it on a digital platform. Get Away If You Can, the directorial debut from real-life couple Terrence Martin and Dominique Braun (who also serve as the writers, producers, and leads), is a mess of a film – one that tries to showcase a troubled marriage but struggles to capture the reason why viewers should care. There’s somewhat of a sense of realism here, as the leads use their real nicknames in the film for a more authentic approach. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that the messy narrative makes the film a chore to sit through.
The film follows troubled couple TJ and Domi (Martin and Braun, respectively). Their marriage has been on the rocks for some time. Most of it has to do with the big decision of TJ’s father (Ed Harris) wanting his son to inherit the family business. TJ has other plans, and those involve continuing his life with Domi – whom his father does not like. Even when they have dinner together, TJ’s father is ruthless and disrespectful to Domi. One particular scene has Harris chewing a giant piece of steak with his mouth fully open and taunting Domi as TJ steps out. It’s a great symbol of how Harris’ performance is in every scene. The veteran actor, who only appears in flashbacks, is intimidating and menacing to Domi, but also shows that his love for his son and what he wants for his son to be successful in life differs from what TJ wants.
Present-day TJ and Nomi are hoping their marriage can be saved by taking a trip to a mysterious island. Neither is fully prepared for the trip, but TJ is also steadfast in making sure this helps them rekindle their marriage. But as flashbacks to past events play out, it brings back those hurt feelings and pent-up emotions they have, and the anger and resentment toward the decisions each one has made continues.
Troubled marriages are hard to watch in both real-life and on film. But they’re especially hard to watch in a film when both characters are so unlikable. Martin and Braun struggle with making their debut performances convincing. You can hardly side with either character and even though the film is only about 80 minutes, it feels like a lead weight the entire time. However, Martin performs better during the flashback scenes with him and Harris, as his character tries to persuade his dad from only thinking of one path for TJ to take in life.
There’s a brief moment where Get Away If You Can jumps toward the future and what their lives have become. It’s left for the viewer to interpret how it all plays out. But by the time the end credits roll, one will just wonder why they even bothered watching in the first place. Maybe they should have listened to the movie’s title when they first came across it.
Get Away If You Can releases to theaters and VOD platforms this Friday, August 19, 2022.