Safety Not Guaranteed
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Funny, charming, unique, and thoroughly entertaining, Safety Not Guaranteed is everything an indie comedy could ever hope to be.
Aubrey Plaza (who has made her name playing a very similar character to this in Parks And Recreation) is the perfect casting choice for the lead role in this movie. Her quick-witted, dry delivery perfectly complements the sincerity of co-star Mark Duplass. As far as development goes, these characters go through quite a bit as the film progresses, leading to some surprisingly emotional moments near the tail-end. As an on-screen pair, Plaza and Duplass are near-perfect. The rest of the cast, however, are completely forgettable, with back-stories unworthy of both the film's time and the audience's full attention.
On a technical level, this movie is about what you might expect from a indie film. Nothing particularly spectacular about the cinematography, sound, musical score, etc. But this isn't a movie heavily reliant on high production qualities to make it entertaining. With two genuinely interesting leads and a central story that keeps you guessing and rooting for a particular outcome, this is the rare kind of movie that is capable of surprising you without even trying if you don't already know what to expect.
Though the story takes a few cliche turns, I found myself very intrigued by the approach it took by the end. There were limited potential outcomes, but the one they went with left me completely satisfied. However, the abruptness of the end made the additional subplots surrounding the supporting characters (which were already almost completely irrelevant) seem even more superfluous. I suppose due to the fact that the film is already under 90 minutes, they felt the additional time spent on the supporting cast would be helpful to develop them further as fleshed-out characters, but it ultimately results in what feels like nothing more than 15+ minutes of filler in an otherwise excellent movie. I can hardly say this is the only reason for it not having a full 4-star rating from me, but it certainly doesn't help its case.
Despite some relatively minor complaints, there is much to love about this movie. The two leads are complex, yet completely relatable, and help it through the slower parts of the film. Regrettably, after roughly the first 15-20 minutes, my hopes for this movie had lowered to a dangerously low level. Had the movie not improved at that point, I might have found myself missing out on the rest of it, which would have been a shame. For at this point, Safety Not Guaranteed is among my favorite movies of the year.