Starring: Aubrey Plaza (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Mark Duplass (Zero Dark Thirty), Jake Johnson (21 Jump Street), Karan Soni
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Derek Connolly
Runtime: 1 hour 26 minutes
Release Date: June 8 (US), December 26 (UK)
Well, this one took a long time to cross the pond. And upon arrival here, it’s only playing at one theatre at one time for less than a week here in Edinburgh. It’s a real shame too, as Safety Not Guaranteed is a heart-warming hilarious ride that should be getting a much wider distribution here than it is.
While inspired by a real want ad, this story is in no way based on true events; that should become pretty clear once this movie gets into it’s third act. But this film has an incredibly original tale to tell, which is thanks to an incredibly simple but funny script. The film has a very sardonic sense of humour that keeps you entertained through a movie that feels surprisingly long and deep for a film that runs shorter than an hour and a half. You’ve probably seen similar films to Safety Not Guaranteed, but not one quite like this. The only negative I can say is that some might find the ending abrupt and disappointing, but I think it was the best way they could end it without becoming too corny or ridiculous.
The cast of the film is mainly made up of the actors you usually see playing bit-parts in much larger films, but everyone puts in great performances here. Aubrey Plaza is perfectly cast in a part that seems made for her deadpan style of humour. She makes this character seem much more engaging than if played by a much broader actress and even manages to get a lot of emotion out of it. Mark Duplass is also great as the aspiring time traveller Kenneth. He nails that fine balance between quirky and crazy, making sure you like the character whilst never forgetting that this guy is totally nuts. Johnson and Soni have great comic chemistry together and their B stories could be entire movies in and of themselves. There are some much bigger names in the film in small cameos, but I won’t ruin those for you considering the advertising doesn’t.
The film has a very simple but beautiful look to it. It has that first feature feel, but it is never distracting. The cinematography isn’t there to show you some fancy shots for no reason to make this film look more expensive; it just captures what it needs to and lets the story and characters carry the film. The music has the kind of indie feel you expect from a movie like this, but it really does fit here and isn’t distracting like it can be in other similar films.
In conclusion, Safety Not Guaranteed is a wonderful motion picture that needs to be seen by all indie film lovers out there. If you enjoy films like Little Miss Sunshine or (500) Days of Summer, this will be right up your alley. Trevorrow and Connolly are genuinely fresh new talents that will hopefully get much more work after this, and I hope this film at least develops a strong enough cult following to keep it alive.
FINAL VERDICT: 9.5/10