Netflix Film of the Week: Safety Not Guaranteed

The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.


Words: Brody Rossiter
Twitter: @BrodyRossiter


As many aspiring journalists can attest, trying to make it big in a business that’s oversubscribed, overly romanticised, and pays poorly isn’t always an easy ride, nor was it a wise career choice in hindsight – even the simple fact that you’re reading this reaffirms that print is essentially dead. It’s a burden, but thankfully stereotypes are often stereotypes for a reason, and journalists drink heavily. Chemical coping mechanisms and individuals afflicted with self-inflicted delusions of tortured grandeur are easy to come by; unique and spellbinding stories are not.

Such life-affirming narratives of love, loss, and life are why writers, journalists, and people who own a pen, partake in this dying art and burgeoning mass hobby. Whether you’re typing out a match report on the local little league team’s last heavy loss, or uncovering hidden political agendas and scandal at the highest level, if you’re not here to tell a story and make people open their mind’s eye, you should leave.

After senior reporter Jeff (New Girl’s Jake Johnson) stumbles across a classified ad looking for a time-travelling companion, he recruits Seattle Magazine interns Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni) to hunt down the “Doc” Brown wannabe, and craft a story about how crazy the reclusive shelf-stacker is. It doesn’t take long for the ambitious sleuth to find her man, infiltrate his circle of trust, and begin her training for the long and arduous trip back to the year 2001.

The sometimes bittersweet but often celebratory pairing of Darius, portrayed by Parks & Recreations’ moody femme fatale, Aubrey Plaza, and prospective time lord, Kenneth (Mumblecore veteran Mark Duplass) is enthralling, as are the deeply personal journeys of all of the film’s key characters – especially Jeff’s the regretful, alcohol fuelled ride through his teenage past. Characters grow closer, sharing old tales while building new narratives to soothe their troubled histories and present day quandaries. After gathering her evidence piece by piece, Darius must decide what she truly believes in: the magazine story, or the new tale she is creating alongside the eccentric Kenneth.

Director Colin Trevorrow may not be a household name quite yet, but following 2015’s Jurassic World, (Trevorrow co-wrote the screenplay and will direct the blockbuster) such lo-fi indie offerings may be few and far between amongst his filmography’s titles. Safety Not Guaranteed is a film about regret, newfound wisdom, and loyalty to the things and people you love whether they’re still here or not. It’s a poignant and unassuming picture that achieves more in eighty-minutes than many pictures do with double the time, and ten times the budget. It possesses a killer soundtrack featuring Arctic Monkeys and Wye Oak, a perfectly judged cast, and most importantly bucketloads of heart. If you’re going to rewrite history, or you just want to experience a genuinely loveable and poignant story, then Safety Not Guaranteed is a good place to start your journey.

Safety Not Guaranteed is available on Netflix UK now.

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