Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed / Cert: 15 / Director: Colin Trevorrow / Screenplay: Derek Connolly / Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni / Release Date: December 26th (UK)
Kenneth Calloway (Duplass) is searching for a companion to go back in time with him. When he places an ad in the classifieds, Seattle Magazine journalist Jeff, (Johnson) decides to follow the story and takes his two interns, Darius (Plaza) and Arnau (Soni) along for the ride. Though Kenneth is the only one working on his calibrations and calculations for backwards time travel everyone is looking to their past.
This trio of journalists take to the coast to seek out the mysterious Kenneth, who by day is a cashier at the local supermarket and at all other times wrapped up in a world of conspiracy, scientific theory, loneliness and paranoia. The film hinges on the fact that it keeps you guessing as to whether Kenneth is utterly deluded or a mad time travelling genius. When the arrogant Jeff strolls up to Kenneth’s door to enquire about the ad he is turned away so it is up to the demure Darius to take on the role as investigator and potential companion.
Kenneth conducts a rigorous line of questioning to ensure he recruits the right person for the job and Darius seems to fit the bill as her apparent reasoning for wanting to go back stems from the desire to save her deceased mother. Kenneth guides her through meticulous training - some target practice and running through the forest - and they embark on an adventure. What starts as a journalist searching for a story turns into a beautiful friendship as Darius and Kenneth learn to trust each other.
Writer, Derek Connolly, has put a lot of thought into the characters and it pays off as each goes on their own journeys. All weave together to provide some funny, strange and winning moments. Mark Duplass takes on the role of Kenneth and he provides a memorable character who is given some excellent lines. Aubrey Plaza adds her cynical charm to the character of Darius and shines in the lead role. This pivotal relationship between two lost souls provides a lot of the laughs but also many of the more poignant moments. The supporting characters don’t get forgotten either; Arnau gets many of the funniest lines as he comments on a laser robbery gone wrong via the ever reliant Star Wars relating to real life dialogue “Stormtroopers don’t know anything about lasers, they are blue collar workers.” He isn’t painted as a stereotype though, as he advises other characters from his perceptive observations.
A film that focuses on meeting and getting to know some great characters all set against a backdrop of intrigue and science fiction adventure. Thanks to the witty script, some excellent character development and a story that keeps you guessing this film is as funny as it is intriguing. A charming and clever trip that is worth investing some time in.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10