Plot: Darius is a young intern at a Seattle-based magazine and jumps at the chance to investigate the author of a classified ad seeking someone to travel back in time with. Along with Jeff, the staff writer, and Arnau, a fellow intern, the three go on a road trip to a coastal town. While Jeff just wants to chase after his high school crush and Arnau wants some kind of life experience, Darius spends her time with Kenneth, a man who believes that he has built a time machine. The closer they become and the more they understand about each other, the less clear it becomes if Kenneth is just crazy or if he actually is going to successfully travel back in time.
Based upon a real magazine article that was indeed written as a joke to gain readers, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is yet another quirky independent movie to be released to rave reviews. But is it really worth the critical acclaim? Short answer: Yes!
Written by Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Trevorrow, two people whom have never directed or written a full-length feature film before, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is a surprisingly solid, brilliant first work. The script was just quirky enough, with well-written, funny dialogue and a good amount of character development. Connolly and Trevorrow took John Silveria’s magazine article and brought it beautifully to life, the characters and their emotions were realistic, and the plot had just enough depth and twists and turns to overcome what few predictable moments there were.
The whole cast was sublime. Mark Duplass, in a brilliant performance (his best yet, in my opinion), played Kenneth, the man who believes he had built this time machine to go back in time. Aubrey Plaza also gave a nice performance as Darius, the young intern, as did Jake Johnson who played Jeff, one of the staff writers. We also had the joy of having a nice cameo appearance by Jeff Garlin, who played Darius’ father. The whole cast played off each other nicely, and the chemistry between them was surprisingly human.
In conclusion, “Safety Not Guaranteed” was just surprising enough, just human enough, and just quirky enough to deserve the critical acclaim it garnered. There were real moments of honesty and some very funny situations that make me recommend this movie highly, and I also very much loved the nice flowing score this film had, especially Ryan Miller’s and Mark Duplass’ song “Big Machine”. A well made, smart, funny indie movie very much worth watching, and one of the best movies of 2012!
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MY RATING: 9.5/10