First thing that needs to be said about this film is that it’s entirely NOT about time travel. Or is it? This is actually a matter, which becomes decisive only in the last few minutes of the picture. Safety Not Guaranteed doesn’t deem it necessary to explain whether traveling through time is really possible. More so, it diverges from this debatable topic in a truly convincing manner, creating a more comedic aura around its smart and ambitious storyline.
When a group of three cynical journalists from a Seattle-based newspaper – an egoistic and laid- back reporter Jeff and his two interns: intense, witty Darius and nerdy, socially awkward Arnau – discover a strange advertisement placed in a paper in a small town in Washington called Ocean View, they quickly decide to investigate. As the ad clearly states, an unknown man is seeking a companion for a time travel. Following the mysterious trail the trio very soon arrives in the village, and after a short period of time they discover the person behind all this mystic farce. His name is Mark, and he works as a grocery clerk in a nearby shop. When Jeff spooks him out with his provocative attitude, it’s time for Darius to go into action. After a while she’s able to convince Mark that she’s as trustworthy as she’s prepared for the dangerous journey.
In the meantime, Jeff reveals why he really wanted to ride to Ocean View in the first place. Namely, his old-time girlfriend lives her. Surprisingly so, this seemingly rom-com subplot follows an unconventional path and doesn’t look forced. What’s more, even the shy and withdrawn Arnau learns a bit about life and about himself in the process.
The relationship between Mark and Darius grows to a level of a heartfelt romance. They share their motivation for traveling back in time, and – through so many hours spend together – they realize that they’re actually on the same wavelength. Avoiding many clichés, the film presents a story, where emotions seem real and the characters that depict them are convincing enough to be recognized genuine human beings. Those characters really have some dimension, and through many engaging dialogues they exhibit their most intimate sides.
While Safety Not Guaranteed might be recognized as a thought-provoking sci-fi flick, it’s more of a really imaginative and touching indie comedy with some fantastical aspirations. It digs deep and uncovers a perfectly satisfying storyline, in a film that will probably guide Colin Treverrow towards a successful career.