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'How We Got Away With It' gets away from the actors

'How We Got Away With It' turns out to be a different mystery film than expected -- even title is a twister

The central mystery of "How We Got Away With It" isn't the explanation promised by its title but, rather: What, exactly, did they get away with?

Eight longtime friends plan a weekend reunion at a waterfront property in Rochester, N.Y., except one is a no-show. We learn from the outset that she has committed suicide. But on discovering her remains, Henry (McCaleb Burnett) curiously opts to not report it to the police and keeps it a secret to all but one of the guests, Will (Jeff Barry).

The screenplay, co-written by Barry, Burnett and director Jon Lindstrom (who plays a cop here), deliberately withholds enough integral information so that the proceedings often seem to be from a movie that's entirely different from what "How We Got Away With It" turns out to be.

It's surprising that a screenplay conceived by three veteran actors would allow so little character development. The ensemble isn't able to flex its collective chops. By performing narrative gymnastics, the film sacrifices any possibility for viewers to identify with the characters. Although the film does answer the myriad questions it raises along the way, it would have benefited from more straightforward storytelling.


"How We Got Away With It."

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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