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Safety Not Guaranteed

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

> > Nov 06 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed - Directed by Colin Trevorrow
By Robert BellTypically, within the lexicon of the Western narrative, the city represents the cultural freedom and fiscal opportunity the country lack, whereas inversely, the open spaces of rural areas tend to represent inner-peace and spiritual freedom as an escape from the face-paced, obligation-filled lifestyle of urban living. In Safety Not Guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow's surprisingly assured, astute and touching feature directorial debut, the city is a space for callous ignorance and performance wrapped up in a smug, self-righteous package. Protagonist Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a defeatist magazine intern shut off from those around her by mass social insincerity. While everyone rushes around climbing corporate ladders and performing the image of success, she quietly and reluctantly observes, eventually stepping outside of her comfort zone to investigate a story with arrogant co-worker Jeff (Jake Johnson) and meek fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni). Their mission is one of cynicism, setting out to mock a presumably crazy man that has set up a classified ad looking for a partner to accompany him on a time travel mission. In such, the standard confusion and tendency to dismiss difference as crazy or stupid play as comic idiosyncrasy, somewhat like Lars and the Real Girl, wherein initial distain and condescension are replaced by understanding and compassion once Darius and the gang step back and try to appreciate time-traveling Kenneth (Mark Duplass) for who he is. This eventual breakdown of personal barriers and defences is mirrored by the placement of city folks in a rural community where pretence and image are secondary to quotidian functionality. Left without the expectation of hipness and unrelenting ambition, these characters eventually open up about their past regrets and present day malaise, which in turn are heightened by the prospect of going back in time to fix mistakes or potentially make present life more agreeable. Here, happiness is found through sincerity and open-mindedness, noting the wide array of human imperfections around us resulting from the inevitable baggage we carry. And in acknowledging this without being glib or overly pat, Safety Not Guaranteed manages to be quite touching and effective, in addition to being, at times, genuinely funny. The DVD is limited on features, having only a "Making of" that discusses Aubrey Plaza's image and the process of getting this film made.
(Alliance)
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