Movie Review: Safe

I don’t know what exactly prompted me to watch this early in the morning. I had a bowl of microwaved soup and four hours of sleep under my belt. I didn’t exactly remember if this was on the list or not until looking at filmsquish.com for the answer. I had planned on watching Zero Kelvin but, for reasons that will be explained later, changed my mind.

A woman develops multiple chemical sensitivity and her life spirals out of control.

We start with a proto-Mulholland Dr. title sequence with similar Badalamentian music. This set my spirits high as the film revealed not only Lynchian trademarks but also some of Kubrick’s with the use of one-point perspective and tracking shots. Even Wavelength, as much as I didn’t like it the first time around, plays a part in some of the shots both forward and reverse.

The way the compositions are framed, I felt rather distant from Carol. There is one wide shot at the beginning where there’s a conversation at her front door and we hear the entire conversation clear as day. I wanted to get closer but the camera stayed put and lingered for a little afterwards. The distance between us and the conversation helps establish that Carol is distant in her life. The static nature of the shots helps increase the tension.

Much like the use of milk in The Decalogue, I consciously ended up drinking some during the movie. Carol even mentions that she is a “milkaholic” early on in the film. I figured I should follow suit for the film.

I was fine with the progression of her symptoms up until the seizure. If anything scares me in real life, it’s seizures. I have to leave the room when somebody has one, notably my autistic brother (another story for another time). The IMDB entry prepped me for that but it didn’t make that scene, less than a minute long, any easier to watch.

As I watched, I noticed some parallels with what I feel. While I do not have multiple chemical sensitivity, the sense of confusion and need for understanding is present as I continue to explore my identity on the spectrum. I am becoming more aware of my sensitivities and am working to have my needs met. Sure, people may not understand at first but it helps me function (can’t believe I just quoted one of my own films there). I seek to understand why things are the way they are and try to adjust. I know I am not alone but there are moments where it seems like it.

I enjoyed this movie in the sense that I liked the overall style; a sense of dread, unnatural static shots, and an unnerving soundtrack. I’m sad to hear that this is out of print because I want this for my library. It is a bit of a slow burn for two hours, especially after Carol enters Wrenwood. I would pass on watching the trailer as it comes off as a generic 90’s thriller. Also, the image of the masked figure in the field is nowhere to be found in the movie. Safe to say, it’s a good film.

8/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

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