Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed: An ill-fitted romance for the ages

Hollywood  has come a long way in breaking from the molds of the storytelling conventions strictly imposed upon them in the Golden Age.

You would think that with all the diverse possibilities of  stories to tell, just a few less movies out there would be obliged to go the romantic route between its two main characters. As Todd van der Werff pointed out in this article making the case for more friendships and less romances on TV:

"The world isn’t full of potential romantic partners who constantly dance around each other; it’s full of men and women who navigate complicated friendships and find their way to happiness within those friendships."

If films are to be accurate portrayals of the different colors of life, filmdom collectively has to consider different endings to their stories. More to the point, film's lose a sense of being unpredictable if every time a man and woman make googly eyes at each other, we know where it's heading.

Case in point: Safety Not Guaranteed.

The film, about a trio of journalists who track down a store clerk who thinks he can time travel, had the makings of a good story and was without a doubt a unique tale.

It's an independent film so I would have thought that these guys had more leeway to be unconventional which is why I was baffled that they sealed off their story with a conventional romantic ending that I don't really think was organic of the relationship between the two main characters on screen.

Aubrey Plaza's Darius (why do all quirky indie movies have to give their female characters male names?) and Mark Duplass's Kenneth seemed to me to be people with holes too big to just dive into a relationship right away. Moreover, I think the film would have been just as emotionally satisfying if the two arrived at a point where Darius understood Kenneth as that would have been a long journey as is.

Despite that, the film was punctuated with an effectively pleasant aura, the movie was interesting and there's a lot to say about building a story around a "red herring" that undoubtedly works.

1 comment:

grace crawford said...

The film is obviously low-budget but has a smart script and a real feeling for those who would like to turn back the clock. Its modesty on the whole becomes it, and Plaza is a real find.

Grace Crawford (Angela Addiego)