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Phil Villarreal’s “Getaway” Thrills—Until It Spoils

In response to Phil Villarreal’s 556‑word review of Escape Plan on

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Phil Villarreal captivates in his expressive, expeditious “‘ESCAPE PLAN’ IS A GETAWAY FROM DULL ACTION FLICKS [MOVIE REVIEW],” right until the bitter end—and bitter it is, when the words “spoiler alert” appear too quickly for most readers to jump ship.

Getaway is a rousing effort from the first, with Villarreal at the helm of a boat that’s in for stormy weather. The critic is a fine captain, navigating the reader through scenes awash with brilliant colors and emphatic diction. Aging frontmen are “crotchety umpires.” Expressions are frozen in plasticine. It’s a joy.

One gets the sense moving into the second act that the men behind the curtain are being revealed a bit too quickly, but audiences will find it impossible to slow down. “Effusive” is too weak a word; the breakneck speed at which the story unfolds and the sharp analysis (punctuated by Villarreal’s wry wit) are thoroughly compelling.

And had it stuck to its strengths, Getaway would have gotten away with it. Unfortunately, the cardinal sin of the art form is to reveal that which should have remained concealed.

Doing so with the phrase “spoiler alert” is tantamount to apologizing to someone before punching them in the face. It’s the attempt to dress up the breach of trust as a service to the reader. It’s not forgivable.

It’s a devastating finale in a work with so much potential. While Getaway may well have been among the best works of this “Escape Plan” season, it instead shoots itself in the foot—and the reader straight through the heart.     

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation