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Film Club: Safe


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#21 Crow

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 04:29 PM

I saw this and found it a very unsettling exploration of the emptiness of the modern suburban lifestyle, the illusion of personaly safety, and how people try to muddle through the best they can. I didn't see any villians in the film. When people act in a way that seems cruel, they're instead simply clueless as how they affect other people. Even the psychiatrist behind that big glass desk, I don't think he intends to be cruel, but he can't bridge the divide between his clinicism and real human needs.

Julianne Moore's performance was excellent. She is a shell of a person who means well, but her sterile environment doesn't allow for her character or her intellect to develop. I think it isn't until she gets sick and goes to that retreat center that she begins to find some semblance of humanity, in interacting with the flawed but human people there.

One thing I found interesting was that the film takes place in 1987 even though the film itself was made in the 1990s, so that makes it a period piece of sorts. The film definitely had an oh-so-'80s feel to it. I wonder if the filmmaker was making a statement on the emptiness of that decade as well as of suburbia itself.

The film certainly had a striking, chilling, unsettling beauty. Looking at the immaculately decorated homes was like gazing at a supermodel; nice to look at, but offering nothing beyond that.

Edited by Crow, 24 April 2006 - 04:31 PM.


#22 Andrew

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 04:31 PM

::Darrel, I like this point about using that initial scene with the psychiatrist to evoke a feeling a patient might have in their initial encounter. The space between them in that scene struck me as beyond ridiculous. Would any doctor really set up an atmosphere so intimidating to conversation? Maybe I don't know enough about that world, but that's how it struck me, and why I'd prefer to read that scene more about feeling than about reality.

I think this is a reasonable way to read this scene. I've never seen a counselor's office that's set up anything like this, but I've known a few headshrinkers who could leave a patient feeling isolated and ashamed of their emotions and experiences.



#23 Cunningham

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 12:00 AM

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I just saw this and also really enjoyed it. It started off reminding me quite a bit of DeLillo's White Noise but starting from the scene where Carol watches the infomercial on Wrenwood, it reminded me of Jim Cunningham from Donnie Darko. I would listen to what the people at Wrenwood said and think, "This stuff doesn't even make sense." I mean, "You just have to love your disease." Yeah, that'll make everything better.

To piggyback on some of the other comments: awesome use of sound and framing to create a real disquiet. I noticed two really striking visual motifs: there were alot of shots where the screen was divided, one speaker would be separated from another by a wall or something; and then the distance shots.

I see that Lester has already been meantioned, but did anyone else notice that at the very end of the movie, Carol is shown to be walking just like Lester did earlier? I think that that *really* points to a pessemistic ending.

#24 Overstreet

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 10:57 PM

Thanks for your impressions, everyone. This has been an exemplary thread so far. It's reinvigorated my love of the film so that I've rewritten my current project, a piece on horror films, to focus on this one instead of Apocalypse Now or Naked.