‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ Review

Safety Not Guaranteed movie poster

Large predatory animals, like leopards and lions, though by no means exclusively, have to live within a major contradiction.

That is, despite their awesome speed and strength, they also have to be very patient.

The reason being, if they’re stalking prey though the jungle or veldt, the placement of a paw, the direction of the wind, all matter.

They’re learned this invaluable lesson overtime, because not too could mean the difference between feeding their young, starvation or even death.

Movies are similar because those films that choose to be patient, reveal their mysteries gradually, run the risk of losing their audience along the way.

Or even worse, boring them, which is the kiss of death as far as movies are concerned.

And also like our feline friends, it takes faith in what you’re doing, and a sure hand, to pull it off, which is why many directors don’t even bother trying.

Though when it works, it’s remarkable, which it does in the case of “Safety Not Guaranteed.”

It’s a charming, heartfelt movie that’s very much about the trip, as opposed to the destination (though that’s pretty cool, too).

The film revolves around a personal ad for someone seeking someone to accompany them through time (which is an interesting MacGuffin).

Safety Not Guaranteed Advert

Though “Safety Not Guaranteed” is less about time travel–though it is present–than the danger of revealing ourselves up to others and the threat of putting the past behind us in the name of an uncertain future.

For awhile I kept wondering when there was going to be any sort of Terminator-style time hopping, though as soon as I met Darius (Aubrey Plaza), Kenneth (Mark Duplass, who also executive produced, along with his brother Jay), Jeff (Jake Johnson) and Amau (Karan Soni) I became less interested in the time travel angle, and more in the lives of four people, all scarred in their own way, looking for a way back to the places where they were happiest or seeking someway to move forward, but being unable to do so.

A movie like this rises or falls on the strengths of its characters for there aren’t any giant robots, sparkly vampires, or zombies to fall back on.

And it rises admirably.

By the way, I mentioned earlier that the whole time travel aspect of the film is a bit of a MacGuffin.  It is, though that’s not to say that it’s not fully realized at some point.

And congratulations to Derek Connolly, who wrote the screenplay for “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and recently won the Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.


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