Tuesday, November 22, 2005

KBT Presents: SAFE

Are you allergic to the 20th Century?

In Todd Haynes’ significantly overlooked 1995 film it is quite possible that Carol may indeed be allergic to living in the modern world. Carol is quiet, unassuming, and to be honest, more than a bit vapid. She does not smoke, drink, or pop pills, in fact she refers to herself as a milkoholic. She is the second wife of a well-off executive-type and stepmother to his young boy. She keeps the upscale California household running by telling the various maids and such what to do. Other than that, exercise classes, visits to the salon, and ordering furniture pretty much round off her existence. So unnoticed and uninvolved, she practically blends into the wallpaper, even while having sex with her husband!

When she begins to mysteriously ill (trust me, you will never look at getting a perm the same way again), and her doctor asserts multiple times that nothing is wrong medically, nobody knows how to react. Blame and frustration from her husband, casual ostracization from her social circle, but perhaps most significantly, a confused victim hood from herself. Salvation lies (of all places) in an infomercial from a benevolent clinic in the middle of the Texas desert which helps people who are, in fact, allergic to modern living.

While both the concept and the plot may sound like a Movie-of-The-Week, director Todd Haynes approach to the film is most certainly not. Safe is part pitch-black satire of the shallow 1980s rich California 'modern living' lifestyle (Yes, the movie was made in the 90s and set in the 80s), part anxious melodrama (even bordering on horror), and lastly, (not too subtly buried in the subtext) part AIDS allegory. The film itself never fully makes any judgements on what is really the cause or the cure, instead opting to leave everything open to interpretation. Thus, Safe takes the exact opposite approach of the typical Movie-of-The-Week that generally has more answers than questions.

Julianne Moore, just graduating from cliched supporting roles in junk like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Body of Evidence and into more interesting films like Short Cuts and Boogie Nights, brings an effective sense of creeping panic to the role, but also allows the bleakly comic tone of the film to come through as well.

Come by tonite (Tuesday November 22nd) and check out this non-typical drama. Drinks 8pm. Trailers 8:15. Showtime 8:30ish.


Post a Comment

<< Home