Safety Not Guaranteed - 10 stars out of 10
“Safety Not Guaranteed” was the most unexpectedly good movie that I’ve seen in a long time. I was enamored with this story and its simplicity. It has the feel of a great indie film as it features strong acting and interesting character transformation instead of using bells and whistles to draw us in. The key to this film is a great concept – A man writes a classified ad that reads:
“Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”
I’m hooked. The script merely echoes our own thoughts: Who is this man? Is he serious? Is he crazy? Is time travel possible? Once this ad is discovered, you cannot turn the movie off without getting some answers. We immediately need to know more, but the film makes us wait until the characters in the story find out for themselves. By this point, we’ve taken the bait and are being reeled in by Derek Connolly’s script. But an amazing script needs amazing actors to bring it to life. Aubrey Plaza comes out of nowhere to drive this entire story. She is known for her deadpan comedy on “Parks and Recreation,” but creates this incredibly deep and conflicted deadpan comedy-dramatic hybrid character that I just adored. While her acting isn’t very emotive, the transformation from cynical to hopeful is very interesting. Mark Duplass plays Kenneth with a perfect combination of sanity and craziness to keep us guessing whether his time machine exists until the very end. I also thought that Jake Johnson was a perfect combination of frat boy and sensitive guy to show a good transformation. The great thing about this film is that it forces us to choose a perspective: Kenneth is crazy or Kenneth is a genius. Each event in the film will have a different meaning depending on the perspective that you choose and you won’t discover if you chose correctly until the end. If you did, you will be satisfied. If you did not, your mind will be blown as you reanalyze the entire movie from the other perspective. There are a few great twists, especially because they make Kenneth seem more crazy or more of a genius. “Safety Not Guaranteed” is amazing on so many levels and just something that you have to experience. You know that it has to end with Kenneth being able to time travel or being crazy. It seems like the ending with be disappointing either way but, while you won’t be able to decide which ending would be better, it ends the right way.