Searching for story ideas three writers for a Seattle based magazine decide to investigate a bizarre personal ad— a man searching for a partner looking to time travel, someone who’ll bring their own weapons, who’ll be paid upon return and also accept the fact that their safety will not be guaranteed. But, what initially starts out as a goof story turns out to have much deeper ramifications. As Darius (Aubrey Plaza) gains the trust of the potential time traveler, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), journalist Jeff (Jake Johnson) explores his own past with an old flame from high school (Jenica Bergere), and intern Arnau (Karan Soni) blossoms in his own time, it all seems cathartic and innocent enough. But wait, could it be that Kenneth’s plans for time travel might actually work? Then what? Exploring the possibilities of love, fate, physics, trust, and our own abilities to accept change or deny it. Based on an actual personal ad and the fictional possibilities that could extend from such an ad, the film represents a down to earth and honest approach to cinema; sometimes gritty artistically, but genuine in its message none the less. Shot entirely in the Seattle area, Safety Not Guaranteed also represents a bold step forward for filmmakers in Washington State, proving it can be done, and done well. Still, I hold a few reservations, while the chemistry between Plaza and Duplass develops in its own quirky way, interactions between Johnson, Soni and Bergere feel less developed and believable. Even then, this gripe is easy to dismiss as awkward twinges dissolve into comedic genius from one scene to the next. In short, there’s a lot to like about the film, and, with a plot that will make you question your own beliefs and life trajectory, this is one definitely worth putting on your hit list. And, note for the ciniphile geeks, director Colin Trevorrow tells me the birds heard in outdoor sequences are actually the same birds from Endor. Apparently Skywalker Studios did some of the audio post production and there are several hat tips throughout the film, fun. Safety Not Guaranteed is rated R.
If you’d like to hear my entire interview with Director Colin Trevorrow, here are the raw and unedited files um’s coughs and all. What a talker!
Colin Trevorrow Interview Segment 1
Colin Trevorrow Interview Segment 2