I honestly don’t know where I should begin with this review.
There’s a mix of emotions going on inside of me now, I am moved by this.
Shot for 750.000 dollars in the Seattle area by newcomer Colin Trevorrow, Safety not Guaranteed is brilliant, and easily tops productions with a budget of ten times higher.
The story follows Jeff (Jake Johnson), a reporter, and 2 interns called Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) as they set out to investigate a classified ad from a guy seeking a companion to time travel with.
While that story is definitely well told, the real story bubbling below the surface is about 20 and 30 some people trying to find their purpose in life. Jeff is a shell of a man, having had success as a reporter, you can see the pain on his face.of not being truely happy. Along with him are Darius, who is equally lonely and Arnau, a struggling biology student focussed solely on school.
After driving out to meet the guy who placed the ad, Kenneth (Mark Duplass) quickly reveals himself as a delightful character to watch. You’re never quite sure if he’s mentally ill, dangerous, full of himself or just plain straight talking the truth.
It’s in this dynamic between him and the 3 other leads that so much of the appeal lies in ‘Safety not Guaranteed’. At times it feels reminiscent of movies like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and small indie movies. It’s got this whole look, a distinguished look, which all comes from using panavision lenses on a Sony F3 camera that creates this Hal Ashby style.
Whilst the story is expertly told, it’s the realism in the characters that sold the movie to me. I don’t watch a movie to be blown away by how perfect everyone is. I want to see flaws, and realistic human behaviour. That might be a personal thing, but growing older I’m starting to get more and more intrigued by human behaviour and how people purposefully choose to ignore adventure.
It’s a statement to mr. Trevorrow’s capabilities as a director that Steven Spielberg handpicked him to direct Jurassic Park 4 as his 2nd movie (not counting 2 made for tv ones).
There’s even a quick reference to Jaws in this movie, and his love for Spielberg, and especially his character dynamics show in this.
Is it the best movie ever? No, there isn’t a best movie ever.
In terms of story, emotions, the way it’s shot, the budget it’s made on..it’s very VERY impressive.
When District 9 came out in ’09 everybody professed mr. Blomkamp would be a big name in Hollywood.
I dare you to watch this and not predict the same future for Colin Trevorrow.
The cast deserves a big round of applause as well, all the actors aren’t household names but give a great and natural performance, oftentimes complimenting eachothers style.
Whether you will enjoy this as much as I do depends on a lot of factors, but I dare you not to be moved.